I remember the 2012 draft like it was yesterday. I remember how upset I was when Tampa took Mark Barron (S) with their 7th overall selection. Just to see the Panthers take stud linebacker Luke Kuechly with their 9th overall selection.
I said to myself, “What the hell is Mark Dominik doing?” I was at work at the time and a co-worker had told me that Tampa had traded back into the 1st round. I rushed to my phone to listen to what was going on. It was pretty obvious that Tampa wanted to get their playmaker. They leapfrogged the Giants to get their guy Doug Martin and the Giants were left with David Wilson. It seemed as if Dominik had hit a home run by trading up to get Martin and Bucs fans all over thought we finally had RB that we could all count on.
Doug went on to set the league on fire, his rookie season by rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. This included a game where he came just 45 yards away from setting the most rushing yards in a single game. 251 yards and 4 touchdowns are what he rushed for against the Oakland Raiders.
The sky is the limit at this point.
Then comes the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Both ended with Doug being hurt and not being able to play for a full season. Now the question is what does new GM Licht do with Martin after his contract year (2015)?
Doug ran the ball hard and showed the world that he can get past the injuries and lived up to his 1st round draft status. Doug was awarded a 5-year contract, worth $35 million with $15 million guaranteed. Now he’s got the money he was demanding and now it was time for Doug to prove that he was worth every penny.
Then came the 2016 season. Doug ran for 421 yards with 3 TDs and league low 2.9 yards per carry. Now Bucs fans are split between blaming it on Doug and the offensive line. I’m still not sure how some Bucs fans can blame the offensive line when Jacquizz Rodgers came in and ran for 4.3 yards behind the very same line that Doug was running behind.
At this point, it looks like Tampa may have made a mistake by giving Martin such a deal. Then the football gods spoke and Doug was busted for failing a drug test which was reported as Adderall.
As a football fan, his failed drug test couldn’t have come at a better time. By him failing the drug test, the rest of his guaranteed money can be voided. There is no reason for Doug to step foot on a football field in a Bucs jersey ever again and I’m sure that is likely to be the case.
Unless Doug is interested in playing for pennies on the dollar. It may be time for Tampa to fully move on from the Dougernaut but it is most definitely time for him to get his life back on track.
I wish him all the success in the world.