John Jerry now has two strikes:
He’s not particularly good at his job.
And he’s, at least for the foreseeable future, a toxic distraction.
Those two strikes might be enough to keep him out of the league in 2014. Some around the league believe that Jerry’s path back to the NFL will be the rockiest of the three Dolphins linemen implicated in the Ted Wells bullying report.
Teams are loathe to embrace players who attract too much attention, particularly if their ability doesn’t match their media wattage. Just ask Tim Tebow, who can’t find a job two years after leading the Broncos to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
Jerry doesn’t have nearly that kind of success on his résumé.
He was the league’s 67th-best run-blocking guard last year, according to Pro Football Focus, and the Dolphins managed just 2.8 yards per carry when running behind him. He surrendered five sacks and 16 hurries. And he’s battled weight issues his entire career.
So basically, the last thing Jerry needs as he enters free agency is yet another reason for teams to look elsewhere.
Wells provided that, and then some.
The NFL’s independent investigator found that Jerry, Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito engaged “in a pattern of harassment” directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but other teammates and staff. Their verbal attacks contributed to Martin leaving the team, Wells found.
Efforts to reach Jerry’s camp for comment Sunday were unsuccessful.
While Jerry hasn’t drawn the degree of scrutiny that Incognito and Pouncey have since Wells released his findings, his behavior in some instances was the most egregious.
Among Jerry’s transgressions, according to Wells:
• He was the first to target Martin with name-calling at the beginning of the 2012 season, frequently calling him “b----.” When Martin didn’t push back on the language, it escalated.
• Telling Martin that he wanted to have sex with his mother and sister at the same time. Jerry was often the worst offender when it came to Martin’s sister, Wells said, “because once Jerry got started he often kept going incessantly.”
• Jerry would regularly demean Martin in front of teammates from other units, which Martin believed was intended to embarrass him.
• Taunting Martin for not being “black enough.”
• Touching former Dolphins lineman Andrew McDonald’s buttocks in a way that simulated anal penetration. (Jerry denied that this happened.)
Jerry, a former third-round pick from Mississippi, told Wells that remarks about Martin’s sister were only made occasionally.
He added: “We all joke like that. Some days it would be me getting joked on, some days it would be someone else.”