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Great Football Player, Outstanding Man

Canton, OH: Amidst all the negative media surrounding the New York Jets, whether it be Tebowmania or teammates fighting, one positive moment has surfaced. This past Saturday, former Jet Curtis Martin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With family, friends, teammates, coaches, and fans in attendance, Curtis Martin delivered an emotionally charged speech that will be remembered forever.

Martin, who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lived a rough childhood on the streets and in his home. During his speech, Martin talked about how his father would beat and torture his mom by burning her and throwing her down the stairs. He labeled this as a reason why his mom was so tough on him, but Martin was thankful for the way his mother treated him. Once Martin’s father left home, his mother had to take on three jobs. In the process, Martin would have to walk to and from home and school on his own and wait until 9 at night for his mother to return. As Martin grew up, he became a product of his environment, doing a lot of things that he regretted and had many brushes with death. He spoke of the time that a man held a gun to his head and pulled the trigger 7 times and no bullet came out. Martin said, “God was saving my life.” His mother told him that she wanted him to be active in a sport or hobby after school just so that he is not hanging out on the streets. She said, “If you die they might as well kill me too because you’re the only thing I’m living for.”  This made a dent in Martin’s thought process, and he went to church and promised God that if he allows him to live past age 21, he will do whatever it takes to do right in life.

Although he was never a fan of football and never really watched a game, Martin played football in high school. When it was time for college, Martin chose Pittsburgh and stayed close to home. In 1995, Martin was drafted by Bill Parcells and the New England Patriots. Bill Parcells taught him so much and was a mentor to Martin. In 1998, Martin reunited with Parcells and signed with the New York Jets. He put up huge stats as a Jet and is one of their greatest players of all time. He finished his career with 14,101 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns. He is the 4th leading rusher of All-Time.

Martin said that he played for a purpose bigger than the game. Although he was a  football great, he says his greatest achievement in life was helping his mother and nurturing her to have a healthy perspective on life. He learned “it is not what you achieve in life that matters most, it is who you become in the process of those achievements that really matters.” At the end of his speech, Martin mentioned that at his eulogy that he wants his daughter to not only remember him as a football player, but to remember the man he was. Martin expressed hopes that his daughter will one day look for a man like her father, a man of strong character and integrity.

The speech was emotional and touching. Congratulations to Curtis Martin for his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a great football player, but is an outstanding man.

Anthony Rivera: PureSportsNY


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