Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin suffered a harsh blow to the head in Friday night’s preseason game against the New England Patriots. Martin was pass protecting out of the backfield when he threw a cut-block at defensive end Chandler Jones, leading with his head into Jones’ thrusting knee. After walking off on his own power, Martin was evaluated and subsequently sent to the locker room, ending his night.
Martin told reporters that he passed all of his concussion tests and would have returned if the team had been playing a regular season game. Tampa coach Greg Schiano also assured the press that Martin was just fine saying, “He got hit in the head, but he cleared really quickly.”
During his rookie season, Martin ran for an astounding 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. On top of his rushing, he had 49 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown. Not only did he have staggering rookie season numbers, but Martin became an emotional leader for his team, making his worth to the team invaluable.
Hopefully, this injury doesn’t add apprehension to Martin’s style of play. His aggressiveness, smarts, and athleticism easily make him the most vital piece to the Buccaneers offense.
However, if Schiano wants 2,000 all-purpose yards out of him like he’s said, he’ll have to keep him healthy as well. For now, it’s safe for fans and fantasy owners to assume Martin will start the regular season and electrify the field yet again.