Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aggregation of the Day: Curtis Martin the Man

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Curtis Martin is up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second straight year this week, and if you considered nothing but his football résumé, they should be preparing his bust for Canton.

He is the fourth all-time leading rusher in NFL history with 14,101 yards, behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. He was one of the most consistent and durable backs of his generation, a player who topped 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons.

Photo from staffer Chris Pedota

That his coach and mentor with the Jets and the New England Patriots, Bill Parcells, is also a finalist, makes the potential story even sweeter. Martin relishes the idea that he and the man who has played a more important role in his life than anyone would be inducted together.

But, for Martin, his football accomplishments tell only part of his story. The Hall of Fame is supposed to “honor individuals who have outstanding contributions to professional football,” according to its mission statement, and “promote the positive values of the sport.”

No one has represented the game better than Martin, who retired in 2005. He told a story last week about the day he was drafted in 1995, when he was supposed to be excited about the big paychecks and bright lights but confided in his mentor, the Rev. Leroy Joseph, that he wasn’t sure he wanted a career in football.

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