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Philbin says Dolphins 'have strong group of men in the locker room'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Coach Joe Philbin had hoped to avoid questions about Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. (USATSI)
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin met with the media Thursday, ostensibly to discuss Monday night's matchup against the Buccaneers. But the looming NFL investigation into whether left guard Richie Incognito bullied left tackle Jonathan Martin dominated the short press conference.

Martin, Miami's 2012 second-round pick, left the team last week and is in California undergoing counseling. Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins Sunday night.

"I'd be glad to answer any question relative to our game against Tampa Bay on Monday night," Philbin began before facing a barrage of questions about the ever-growing scandal.

Below are excerpts from the press conference.

Does Philbin consider this a black eye on the organization?

"Again, I'm not concerned about any of that stuff. My focus is on Tampa Bay, getting our players to help them reach their potential, individually and as a football team. That's really all I'm concerned about, that's all I control."

Philbin's thoughts on his players speaking out on the issue

"Those are their comments and they should stand on their own. Everybody's accountable. One of the things we talked about yesterday ... we talked about honesty, we talked about respect, we talked about accountability. So if your'e going to put your name on something, those guys are accountable. ...

"We have a great locker room, this is a tremendous organization, a privilege to represent. I've gotten a ton of support from people within the organization, outside the organization and I'm fortunate to be in the position I am. I love coming to work every single day and I'm going to represent this franchise the right way every single day I'm here. And nothing's changed."

Has Philbin followed the story as it unfolds on the internet?

"Unfortunately, I called my 92-year-old father yesterday and he was on the computer. So I had to tell him to get off the computer. Honestly, I don't know if I have enough time in the day to read all the stuff that's out there."

Was Philbin surprised by the overwhelming support Incognito received from teammates?

"I don't know what the questions were, I haven't read the accounts. I'm going to let their statements stand on their own."

Are the Dolphins distracted by this?

"I think we've had four excellent days of preparation. I'm confident in our guys. If you don't believe in your players you have no chance. And I believe in our guys. ... I think we have a strong group of men in the locker room. I believe we had one before this occurred. And I believe we'll have one after.

What are Philbin's thoughts about the report that GM Jeff Ireland told Martin to punch Incognito?

"As we're all aware, there's a lot of information out there. We also know that the NFL's coming down here to conduct a review. Any comments we would make at this time would be a disservice to the process that's about to take place."

 
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