Football HOF Profile: Curtis Martin

In the NFL there are many players who fly under the radar and are rarely noticed by the fans in their city or any other city. Then there are the villains who are noticed by everyone but only because they are the bad guys in the locker room and on the field. These are the players who are booed every time the touch the ball or step onto the field as they represent the enemy for many. Most of these villains are loved by their fans and are usually great players but the fans can turn on them if they do not perform up to expectations. Being a villain in the NFL is a rough business but it can lead to a lot more exposure and a lot more action for someone’s career. Then there are the good guys who are beloved by their fans but are usually unknowns in the larger picture of the NFL. These players are the type that go out on every play and give everything they have despite the fact that they may not be the most naturally gifted athletes. These players are the few that can stand out amongst the fans and almost never do wrong by them. They are the fans that earn the cheers when they return to city they left with another team. These fan favorites generally are the hard workers who need to work longer to be as good as the superstars but they capture the hearts of the fans. Then there are the select few who not only endear themselves to the fans but are also the superstars of the team. These are the athletes who work the hardest and are blessed with all of the physical gifts of an athlete. They are the players who lead their teams into battle and are the players who the fans and the rest of the league respects. They may get boos from the other fans but in the end everyone respects them for what they did. Curtis martin was one of these players as he ran with a purpose and a blue-collar attitude which endeared him to fans. Yet still he had the ability to be more than just a role player as he led his teams with the ability to gain yards in multiple ways. As a superstar both on and off the field Martin will walk into the hall of fame to a chorus of cheers as he becomes known as one of the best ever.

Martin went into the 1995 NFL draft with a lot of doubt as an ankle injury kept him out of his final college season. Thanks to his injury many teams overlooked him and he fell far to the third round of the draft. That is when the New England Patriots, who love to find late round gems, picked him up to likely be a role filler for the first few years. Martin had other ideas though as he followed the path of legendary running back Barry Sanders in his first year. With one carry Martin showed the NFL that he was there to stay as he scrambled for 30 yards in his first chance. The game did not stop there though as he scored the winning TD and became the first Patriots running back to run for 100 yards in his first game. It was only the start of Martin though as he rattled off 8 more 100-yard games in his rookie season tying an NFL rookie record. With no experience in the NFL Martin went on to win the AFC rushing title, be named the NFL rookie of the year, and get his first Pro Bowl selection. Martin continued to role even after his first season as he remained at the top of the rushing charts and rattled off 10 straight 1,000 seasons tying the record held by Barry Sanders for most consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Martin was one of the most consistent performers of all time and it wasn’t until his 2004 season that he had his best season winning the NFL rushing title with 1,697 yards. Martin was a fan favorite for many reasons but one of the biggest was the fact that he was always dependable, which is also the main reason that he will join the best of the best in Canton this year.

 

Curtis Martin, RB (1995-2006)

5’11” 207 lbs

New York Jets (9 yrs)

168 G

3,518 rsh

14,101 yds

83.9 yds/g

90 TD

– 1995 Offensive NFL Rookie of the Year
– 2004 NFL Rushing Champion

– 2004 FedEx Ground Player of the Year

– 2005 Bart Starr Man of the Year Award

– 5-time Pro Bowl Selection

– Also played for New England Patriots (1995-1997)

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