Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland suggested offensive tackle Jonathan Martin physically confront guard Richie Incognito -- even saying he should "punch" him -- as a means of dealing with how he was being treated, ProFootballTalk.com reported Wednesday night.
According to the report, which cited multiple league sources, Martin's agent, Rick Smith, called Ireland before his client left the team Oct. 28 and complained about the manner in which the second-year player was being treated by Incognito.
In response, Ireland suggested Martin respond to Incognito physically and specifically mentioned that he should "punch" the veteran guard, the sources told ProFootballTalk.com.
Martin left the Dolphins last week after claims of harassment and misconduct by teammates.
Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Martin recently checked himself in for a brief stay a South Florida hospital to be treated for emotional distress. The specific treatment of Martin's emotional condition was not disclosed, but sources say it was related to his belief that he had been a target of harassment, including from Incognito.
Multiple sources confirmed to ESPN earlier this week that Incognito used racial epithets and profane language toward Martin on multiple occasions. In a transcript of a voice mail message from April, Incognito referred to Martin as a "half n----- piece of s---."
The 6-foot-3, 319-pound Incognito, a ninth-year pro, is white. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin is biracial.
The Dolphins suspended Incognito indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team Sunday night.
The NFL is investigating the troubled relationship between Martin and Incognito. One of the pivotal questions being posed by both the league and the NFL Players Association is whether Martin reached out to coach Joe Philbin as the issues were unfolding.
Sources told ESPN that the NFLPA is calling for a meeting with the agents for Martin and Incognito to discuss how the controversy is damaging both players.
Martin, meanwhile, remains in California, preparing a detailed document for his cooperation with the league's investigation into a string of alleged multiple incidents he says led to his emotional distress and exit from the team, sources said.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and ESPN.com Dolphins reporter James Walker was used in this report.