Philbin Clears The Air On Martin-Incognito Situation

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Head coach and players are now focusing on Tampa Bay.

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin faced a larger media throng this afternoon than at his introductory press conference and he immediately took control of the issue everyone wanted to ask about.

On the heels of multiple reports regarding the alleged discord between offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, Philbin presented the timeline of events going back to last Monday. That’s when he was preparing the team for a Thursday night home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he went right up through last night when the decision was made to suspend Incognito indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

“Last Monday evening, prior to our practice in preparation for our game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Jonathan Martin left our facility prior to that practice after an incident occurred in our team dining room,” said Philbin, who is in his second season. “Later that evening he contacted a member of our organization. Soon thereafter I contacted Jonathan personally, requested a meeting with him, which he readily accepted.

“I met with him later that evening. We had a good discussion. Throughout the course of the week I was in contact on multiple occasions with both him and members of his family. I spoke to him the day after the game and spoke to members of his family over the course of the weekend. As the weekend unfolded, early on Sunday, we as an organization released a statement that was 100 percent factual.”

Then Philbin proceeded to bring everyone current to the situation the team now faces, missing two of its starting offensive linemen with Martin still absent.

“I should let you know that in all my discussions with Jonathan and members of his family, at no time were there any accusations of allegations of misconduct by any members of this team or this organization,” Philbin said. “Later on Sunday, we were contacted by one of his representatives where they in fact had some concerns over player conduct that had occurred. We immediately took those concerns very, very seriously.

“Our owner Steve Ross, who had been involved throughout the entire process, contacted the Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and requested that the NFL become involved and conduct a review of the workplace. We issued a second statement noting that we had received information that we were taking very seriously and that we were gathering information on. Throughout the course of the day we gathered more and more information. At the end of the day I decided to suspend Richie Incognito based on the information that I had at that time.”

Philbin confirmed that the NFL is going to conduct a comprehensive and objective review of the workplace and the Dolphins will fully cooperate as an organization. Inside the locker room, everything appeared normal as the players wound down from their practice and continued to praise the closeness of the group.

Rookie cornerback Will Davis was all smiles, like he typically is, and defensive tackle Jared Odrick joked about his habit of wearing shoes with no sacks after he changed out of his uniform. The players deferred questions on the specifics of the issue to Philbin but seemed ready and motivated for next Monday night’s game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’ve had a great time since I’ve been here, even with the vets,” said Davis, who was a third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft. “Most of you guys see me and I’m always smiling anyway. It’s a fun locker room and I’ve always had fun and I’ve always felt the guys in here are great. I remember telling my family I came to a good team and I don’t know how it is around the rest of the league but I said I got lucky with this team because the locker room is fun.”

Wide receiver Mike Wallace was so focused on preparing for the next game that he wasn’t really aware of the news that was developing over the weekend, which eventually led to such a large media contingent descending on Davie.

“I knew when you all knew. I watched it on TV,” Wallace said. “I don’t really know much and I’m getting the news just like everybody else, but I feel like it was always a good vibe with the team and I think everybody’s mentally tough. I’m good and I’m ready to move on, looking forward to this Monday night game and getting ready to play some football.”

That’s the mindset that is permeating throughout the facility and Philbin is leading the way by taking full responsibility of the atmosphere the players are working in. He sent that message loud and clear.

“I want you to know that as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, I’m in charge of the workplace atmosphere,” Philbin said. “Since April 10th, 2012, when the players first came here and I was the head coach, every decision I’ve made and everything we’ve done to this facility has been done with one thing in mind. And that is to help our players and our organization reach their full potential, and any type of conduct or behavior that detracts from that objective is not acceptable and it’s not tolerated.

“Two of my children go to school right behind here at The University School and as a parent, when they walk in those doors I have certain expectations that the administration, the teachers and the staff are going to create a safe atmosphere where my children can learn and develop as people. And this is no different. I take this responsibility very seriously that these players, when they walk into this door they feel like they have the best medical care, they have the best strength and conditioning care, the best coaching, the best fields to practice on, the best technology and the best classrooms to learn in. That’s very important to me and I will tell you that if the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere I will take whatever measures are necessary to assure that it is. I have that obligation to the players that I coach on a daily basis.”
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