Panthers GM Dave Gettleman surprised by Jonathan Martin retirement

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was surprised to learn that backup left tackle Jonathan Martin is retiring.

He wasn’t unprepared for it, though.

With Martin out of the equation to be Michael Oher's backup, the Panthers will give Nate Chandler, Amini Silatolu and rookie Daryl Williams the opportunity to fill the backup role.

Chandler missed offseason workouts recovering from knee surgery, but he was cleared Thursday to begin practicing on Friday.

Chandler was the starting right tackle for the first 11 games last season after losing the left tackle job to Byron Bell in training camp.

Silatolu, also coming off knee surgery that cost him his starting job last year, enters camp as the backup to Andrew Norwell at left guard. He has left tackle experience, though, starting there his last two seasons at Midwestern State.

Williams spent offseason workouts competing with Mike Remmers at right tackle, but he also will be given the opportunity to play on the left side.

“I’ve said this before, I feel we’re in a better place than we were a year ago talent-wise,’’ Gettleman said.

Martin was at the center of the bullying scandal in Miami two seasons ago.

It was determined through an NFL investigation that three Miami linemen -- Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey -- engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at Martin and another young offensive lineman identified as Player A in the Ted Wells report.

Martin was claimed off waivers by Carolina during the offseason after being released by San Francisco.

Martin played well during offseason workouts, but injured his back while working out after the team completed a June minicamp. Told he would need surgery and potentially miss the season, Martin opted to retire. Gettleman would not address whether the team had any indication Martin’s back was an issue.

“I’m not going there,’’ he said.

Gettleman said Martin’s representatives contacted him with the decision and he’s waiting for the paperwork to go through.