Seahawks’ Baldwin sides with Martin

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comNovember 7, 2013 

Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung, left, and right tackle Breno Giacomini are nearing their return to the lineup. Both began practicing Wednesday with Okung eligible to return next week against Minnesota and Giacomini whenever he’s ready.

ELAINE THOMPSON/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RENTON — Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh defended Miami offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Wednesday.

Martin has made national headlines after walking away from the Miami Dolphins this week because of alleged hazing by fellow lineman Richie Incognito.

Monday, Incognito was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team – the alleged hazing and bullying – after Martin’s representatives on Sunday turned over a voice mail with racially charged threats from Incognito.

In a twist, some players have

criticized Martin for leaving the team and not dealing with Incognito directly.

That irritated Baldwin, who was Martin’s teammate at Stanford when Harbaugh was their coach.

“I would say that I’m extremely disappointed in the reaction that I think has been generated from this entire event,” Baldwin said. “I’m trying not to say too much about it, but I think a lot of people might look at Jonathan Martin and think that he’s soft because he stepped away from the game, saying, ‘Why don’t you just fight him?’

“Well if you look at it with common sense and being logical, what options did Jonathan Martin have? He could either fight Richie Incognito. He could go and tell on the players, which we know in the football locker room doesn’t go over well. Or he could remove himself from the situation and let the proper channels take care of itself. And I think he made the intelligent, smart choice without putting himself or Richie Incognito’s physical abilities in danger.

“I know Jonathan Martin as a person. I know his character. I know he is a great guy, a great friend of mine, and he’s never been in trouble. I can only speak about him. So for this situation to be as serious as it has become, it has to be something serious that is going on.”

Baldwin elaborated on his disappointment in some of the reaction.

“I think there’s some reports that have been coming out saying Jonathan Martin was ‘soft’ or the way he handled the situation, he couldn’t take the verbal abuse or whatever it may be. I don’t know the specifics of what happened, so I don’t want to speculate. But, at the same time, we saw the voice mails, the text messages. For anybody to say that you can’t handle it, that you’re soft because you can’t handle it, that’s ridiculous to me and it’s disappointing that our society even has to question that. It’s pathetic to me, actually.”

Harbaugh said less to reporters in San Francisco but put forth the same thoughts as Baldwin.

“I know (Martin) to be a fine person, and his family,” Harbaugh said. “A great contributor as a student and as an athlete at Stanford. (He) epitomized the student-athlete model. And then, (he’s) a personal friend. So I support Jonathan.”

OKUNG, GIACOMINI BACK

Left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini were back at practice Wednesday for the first time in weeks.

Okung was placed on short-term injured reserve after Week 2 because of a toe injury and, by rule, may not return to the team until Nov. 17 against Minnesota.

Giacomini (knee) may return when he is ready. Giacomini was listed as a limited practice participant Wednesday.

HARVIN STILL DAY TO DAY

Wide receiver Percy Harvin worked out again Wednesday, but did not practice.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Carroll said of Harvin’s return. “We feel confident that the surgery went very well. He’s working diligently to get it done, we just have to do it right because we want him to finish the season with us and not have this be an issue.

“The tendency for him, in particular, is that he’s such a tremendous competitor, he’s dying to get back, and we’re just trying to make sure that we really can secure the return and make it a great one.”

Carroll said Harvin has no soreness in his surgically repaired hip.

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll said he heard back from the NFL about Sunday’s pass interference call on safety Earl Thomas and that the league said the call was incorrect. … Safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring) will practice this week in hopes of returning next week against Minnesota. … Center Max Unger and defensive end Red Bryant were held out of practice after experiencing concussion symptoms during Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. … Carroll said rookie offensive lineman Alvin Bailey will continue to be worked in. Bailey played four snaps against Tampa Bay.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas

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