Boise State Football

Buccaneers release former Boise State great after up-and-down tenure

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) eludes Cleveland Browns defensive end Carl Nassib (94) during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla, on Aug. 26, 2017.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) eludes Cleveland Browns defensive end Carl Nassib (94) during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla, on Aug. 26, 2017. AP

Though his six-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw some impressive highs, Doug Martin’s past two seasons were enough to warrant the team’s release of the ex-Boise State running back.

Martin was let go by the team that drafted him Tuesday, following brutal 2016 and 2017 campaigns that saw him fail to rush for 500 yards in either season, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. He had rushed for 1,402 yards in 2015, which earned him a five-year, $35.75 million deal the following offseason.

But Martin was handed a four-game suspension late in 2016 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and he entered rehab. That negated future guaranteed money from the contract, so releasing him won’t have salary cap ramifications. The Buccaneers will save $6.75 million by letting him go.

Following his release, the two-time Pro Bowler tweeted a statement, thanking the team’s owner and coach Dirk Koetter, citing the opportunity for “financial independence” with his second contract and looking forward to the “next stage” of his career.

“I’ve had many peaks and valleys over the past six years as a person and as a player. You cheered when I scored touchdowns and supported me when I stumbled,” he wrote to Tampa Bay fans.

A first-round pick in 2012 (31st overall), Martin rushed for 1,454 yards as a rookie. He has played in more than 11 games only twice (his 1,000-yard seasons in 2012 and 2015), and his most productive season outside of those years was 494 yards in 2014. His 4,633 yards rushing ranks No. 4 in team history, and his 26 rushing touchdowns are No. 3.

Coached by former Boise State coach Koetter, the Buccaneers had four former Broncos in camp last fall in Martin, Thomas Sperbeck, Jeremy McNichols and Jonathan Moxey. The roster now has none of them.

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