One of the hardest working players in NFL history signed as a free agent (from the New England Patriots) in 1998 to play for the Jets and Coach Bill Parcells. Martin is currently fourth on the NFL all-time rushing list behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders with 14,101 rushing yards in his carrer.
Martin grew up in a tough neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He does not play football until his senior year in high school, but he makes the most of his one high school season rushing for 1,705 yards and 20 TD's for the season. Martin earns all state honors and is named City Player of the Year by the Pittsburgh press. Martin goes on to win MVP honors in the Pennsylvania v. Maryland post season All-Star game. He earns a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh as a result of this one season.
Martin played at Pitt for three years and is injured in the second game of his senior season. He receives a Red Shirt for the seaons, but decides to enter the 1995 NFL draft after his injured senior year.
Before the Jets
Martin was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 3rd Round of the 1995 NFL Draft. In his rookie season he rushed for 1,487, was named to the Pro-Bowl, and won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Martin played for the Patriots through 1997 making two Pro Bowls (1995, 1996). Martin was signed as a Restricted Free Agent by the Jets at the end of the 1997 season.
As a Jet
Martin signed a 6 year, 36 million dollar contract with the Jets following the 1997 season which the Patriots declined to match. Because Martin was a high tendered Restricted Free Agent, the Patriots received the Jets 1st and 3rd round picks in 1998. During the course of his career as a Jet, Martin was named to 3 Pro Bowls, lead the league in rushing once (2004), and became the 4th leading rusher all-time in NFL history.
After the Jets
Following his retirement, Martin expressed interest in becoming the owner of an NFL franchise. He continued to involve himself in various charity work including through the Curtis Martin Job Foundation, established by Martin during his playing career, designed to provide "financial aid and hands-on support to single mothers, children’s charities, individuals with disabilities and low income housing providers". Martin was considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2011 however, he was not selected. artin was again a leading candidate for selection in 2012 alongside former head coach and mentor Bill Parcells He was selected for induction on February 4, 2012 and formally inducted on August 4, 2012. Martin's speech, which he conducted without notes, was widely praised by critics for its sincerity.
The Jets retired Martin's No. 28 jersey in a halftime ceremony at New York’s season-opening game against the Buffalo Bills on September 9, 2012.
|1995||New England Patriots||16||368||1,487||4.0||14|
|1996||New England Patriots||16||316||1,152||3.6||14|
|1997||New England Patriots||13||274||1,160||4.2||4|
|1998||New York Jets||15||369||1,287||3.5||8|
|1999||New York Jets||16||367||1,464||4.0||5|
|2000||New York Jets||16||316||1,204||3.8||9|
|2001||New York Jets||16||333||1,513||4.5||10|
|2002||New York Jets||16||261||1,094||4.2||7|
|2003||New York Jets||16||323||1,308||4.0||2|
|2004||New York Jets||16||371||1,697||4.6||12|
|2005||New York Jets||12||220||735||3.3||5|
|Career||NE / NYJ||168||3,518||14,101||4.0||90|