Dolphins legend Larry Csonka calls Miami bullying scandal unbelievable

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Hall of Fame fullback and driving force behind the only undefeated team in NFL history said he went through hazing as a rookie, but nothing approaching the severity of the allegations surrounding this season's Dolphins.

It's not that Larry Csonka didn't go through rookie hazing. Like all the other first-year players on the 1968 Miami Dolphins, the future Hall of Fame fullback had to pay his dues.

"When I was a rookie I had to get up on a chair ... and had to sing a song and people threw jello at me," the legendary Dolphin remembers.

More Dolphins news at: The Phinsider

Of course there's a finite number of times you can force a 6'3, 235-pound man -- who was also turned out to be one of the most punishing runners pro football has ever seen -- to do something he doesn't want to do.

"That lasted about two days and then I didn't want to get up on that chair anymore. I told everybody 'if you want to put me up on the chair you're going to have to earn it.' And that was the end of it."

That's one reason Csonka finds the reports coming out of Miami about the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal so baffling. If the 312-pound offensive lineman was fed up with being hazed by Richie Incognito and others, why didn't he put an end to it?

"Players are players and they'll only put up with so much," Csonka said.

Rookie hazing in Csonka's day lasted roughly a week at the beginning of training camp and never lingered into the season itself.

"To be this late in the season and it's still carrying on -- I almost don't believe it, to be honest with you," the 66-year-old said of the Martin allegations. "I think there's something else going on."

Csonka captured two Super Bowl rings with the Dolphins in the early 1970s and was a driving force behind the undefeated '72 team. He says the locker room under the notoriously no-nonsense Don Shula had no room for bullying or team dissension, even during the brief hazing period. Csonka said the coach's brutal summer camps were so demanding that "there wasn't much time for anything other than hard work."

Whether the ongoing scandal will tear the 2013 Dolphins apart or serve as a rallying point will rely on them, the Hall of Famer said.

"It's a thing that can either bring them together or divide them."

The team has gone 2-1 since the scandal broke, and at 5-5, they still have a solid shot at one of the AFC wild card spots. Whether that's the start of a mid-season rally or just a blip in an otherwise disappointing season remains to be seen.

Csonka, for his part, thinks the team can bounce back from the incident.

"I think you have high points and low points. Everybody is first to remember the high points, but sometimes the high points start from the low points."

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