Bronco Beat

Doug Martin speaks for first time since suspension; Koetter apologizes for tweet

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in a practice on Tuesday at One Buc Place, the team’s training facility, in Tampa, Fla.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in a practice on Tuesday at One Buc Place, the team’s training facility, in Tampa, Fla.

Former Boise State running back Doug Martin, entering his sixth season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, spoke Thursday with the media for the first time since late last year when he was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy and entered a rehab facility.

Martin called the experience “a journey of self-development,” and added that what happened “is definitely behind me.” Watch his interview here.

“I definitely turned a negative into a positive and I’m out here and I’m definitely a stronger person because of it,” Martin said.

The two-time Pro Bowl running back was suspended for the final game of 2016, and will serve the final three games of the suspension at the start of this upcoming season. He played in eight games last season, rushing for 421 yards and three touchdowns. General manager Jason Licht said he was happy with Martin’s “trajectory” before the draft despite some whispers the team might let him go.

Martin said it was hard to be away from his support system of friends and family, but also said he appreciated Tampa Bay’s support.

“I had a lot of support with my teammates, with Jameis (Winston) and Gerald (McCoy),” Martin said. “They did a good job of rallying behind me, coach (Dirk Koetter) and Jason as well — I’d like to thank them for standing behind me and for the support of the fans.”

OTAs this week have given Martin time alongside fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols, another Boise State product. McNichols was on hand for drills but only could watch because he is still recovering from shoulder surgery. Martin said after practice he and McNichols “have a great relationship.”

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Koetter also held a media session after practice, and used it to first apologize for a tweet he had nothing to do with.

A quick recap of how it came about: Tampa Bay tweeted Monday morning about team-themed “fidget spinners,” with the Atlanta Falcons responding with “Are you nervous about something?” The official Buccaneers’ account responded to that with, “We ain’t worried ’bout nothing!” with a photo of Vernon Hargreaves (No. 28) and Winston (No. 3). See, the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, if you hadn’t heard ... .

“That was totally unprofessional and not smart on our part, whoever was responsible for that,” Koetter said Thursday.

Koetter was Boise State’s head coach from 1998 to 2000, and was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014.

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