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In this Dc. 16, 2012, photo, Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stands on the sidelines during the Dolphins' NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Miami. Martin, the offensive tackle at the center of the Dolphins' bullying scandal, has been traded to the San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins announced the deal Tuesday night, March 11, 2014, on the first day of NFL free agency. Martin's move cross country brings him back to the Bay Area to be reunited with his former Stanford coach, Jim Harbaugh. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin probably couldn't have wished for a better opportunity than the one he got Tuesday when the San Francisco 49ers traded a late-round draft pick to obtain rights to his services.

Last fall, Martin became the unwitting and unlikely hero of multitudes of Americans who have experienced the anguish of being bullied.

Martin suddenly left the Dolphins in October revealing that he had done so because he could no longer stand the unmerciful bullying he had received from then-teammate and fellow lineman Richie Icognito.

Many -- including Martin -- feared that he would be ostracized for his actions and there was open speculation about whether Martin could ever get a chance to play in the NFL again.

Now, the 49ers have answered that question in the affirmative. We applaud them for doing so. Of course, there is no guarantee that he will make the team, but at least he has the chance to compete.

Not only that, he will get to do so under his old college coach, Jim Harbaugh, who coached Martin at Stanford.

There is plenty of reason to believe that he will make the 49ers. First, Martin is a quality player. He was a second-round draft pick by the Dolphins and had been a starter for all of his games with them. Second, he plays a position that is in high demand.

Martin said he made the agonizing decision to leave the Dolphins because Incognito's torture had driven him to a breaking point.


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Martin's recounting of events were disgusting and went far, far beyond the typical hazing and needling that goes on in every locker room in every sport. It included charges that bordered on extortion.

It was a scandal that rocked the National Football League, causing league officials to commission an independent probe of the claims.

Harbaugh supported Martin throughout the scandal and investigation, saying he "epitomized the student-athlete model" at Stanford.

According to Ted Wells, the NFL's investigator, Harbaugh was not among those who doubted Martin's future in the NFL.

"Coach Harbaugh emphasized that he never doubted Martin's physical or mental toughness," Wells wrote in his report, "and he believes that Martin can continue to have a successful career in the NFL."

Ironically, it is Harbaugh who has given Martin the chance to prove his old coach right.

Count us among those who want to see Martin succeed and we wish Martin the best. As luck would have it, the 49ers do not play the Dolphins during the 2014 regular season. The only way such a match could happen would be in the Super Bowl. But we would be OK with that, we'll bet Martin would, too.