As NFL independent investigator Ted Wells closes up shop in Miami, his travels eventually will take him to St. Louis. Or wherever Wells can hook up with Rams tackle Jake Long.
Per multiple league sources, Wells plans to interview Long regarding his recollection of interactions during the 2012 season between suspended Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin.
Long was the unquestioned leader of the team’s offensive line. Once Long left via free agency, Incognito stepped into the void. Or, perhaps more accurately, barged his way in.
As one source explained it, Long is the guy who would intervene when Incognito arguably was going too far. Without Long on the team, no one was there to reel Richie in.
Meanwhile, we’re told it’s possible that Wells will interview former teammates and coaches at Stanford. If Wells takes that path, it would be a strong indication that Wells is exploring the manner in which Martin interacted with others while at Stanford. Possible topics would include whether Martin engaged in communications like those he objected to in Miami, and perhaps whether he engaged in any behavior that could be regarded as bullying or hazing.
Wells also could poke around regarding whether Martin, who has been a fixture at recent Stanford games, has said anything to teammates regarding why he left the Dolphins, whether he genuinely blames Dolphins players for their conduct, and whether he (as some believe) simply wanted out of the NFL but didn’t want to have to refund roughly $1 million in bonus money that he received last year.
Regardless, it’s clear this investigation will continue indefinitely. And it will take precisely however long it takes for Wells to feel comfortable that he has explored all angles and chased all reasonable leads.