Curtis Martin capped a wonderful career that spanned 11 seasons (8 of those with the Jets) last night with his induction into the Hall Of Fame. Martins journey to Canton includes 14,101 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns, along side 3329 yards receiving and a further 10 touchdowns, leaving him as the Jets all-time leading rusher (10,302 yds) and fourth in NFL history.
Martin received his gold jacket from former mentor Bill Parcells at the enshrinees' Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday evening, at the Memorial Civic Centre. Last night Curtis delivered a stirring and emotional speech recalling tragic and horrifying events during his younger years and how football had helped to save him.
Martin recalled horrific events during his childhood, the beating and torture of his mother at the hands of his father, (who he later persuaded to forgive his father, calling it one of his greatest accomplishments). At the age of nine, his Grandmother was found beaten to death at his family home and at aged 15 a gunmen held a gun to his head, pulling the trigger several times, but the gun failed to discharge. (only to discharge away from Martin, on the 8th attempt).
Curtis spoke fondly about former mentor Bill Parcells recalling several stories known as 'Parcell-isms'. Martin even joked about his mother pushing him to play football.
"That didn't add up, That's two things I don't like, school and football".
Martin had 10 consecutive seasons of over 1000 yards (rushing). 5 Pro-Bowl and All-Pro selections. Led the league (1697 rushing yards) in 2004, becoming the oldest player in NFL history to achieve the feat (aged 31).
The New York Jets announced that the #28 worn by Curtis will be retired in an opening day cermony on September 9th, prior to the game against the Bills.
Rich Wilhelm from the site has been in Canton since Thursday, during which he sat down with Curtis Martin for a 15 minute interview. We'll bring that to you later this week.