CuMart's all but done.
A day after Halloween there was no trick and certainly no treat for Jets fans as they learned what everyone had been fearing for months; future Hall of Famer Curtis Martin’s year is over and likely his career as well. Both Head Coach Eric Mangini and Martin himself made the annoucements.
While his season is over, the league’s fourth all time leading rusher’s didn’t officially retire but it seems that next step will just be a formality. The whole truth about Martin was finally revealed today, for the first time.
Martin went into full detail as he discussed his injury and tribulations over the last 14 months. The original injury occurred last year in week two of the regular season when the cartilage is his knee was torn. Martin said that he “handled it according to how he handled injuries in the past.” Over the next couple of weeks though, the injury got worse and Martin decided to call it a season. “I bowed down humbly and took myself out when I couldn’t do it anymore.”
The surgery Martin had last December removed the torn cartilage from his knee, producing a bone-on-bone situation. According to Martin, “this is as good as my knee gets.” If Martin calls it quits, which seems very likely, there is a “borderline situation of having to get more done” to the knee said Martin.
After months of rehab, Martin decided to call off a return this season last night. He walked into Mangini’s office and told him he couldn’t feel like he could practice or play this season. According to Mangini, Martin will be placed on the “reserved PUP list. This does not mean retirement and he will still be part of the team but won’t participate in games.”
Unlike published reports stating that Martin had not been physically with the team over the last couple of months, Mangini and Martin himself tried to correct those rumors. Mangini said that Martin, “had been working extremely hard and wanted to play this season.” Martin said that he was always with the team in meetings and working out privately. “During meetings, coach would ask me questions just like everyone else, for example who is number 54 on the Colts and what are his key assets?” said Martin about his role with the team.
Both Mangini and Martin remarked how Martin wanted to be able to comeback and win practice player of the week. Mangini had no regrets in giving Martin “every chance to participate this season” and was touched by Martin’s sentiment towards the team and his own playing ability. “If we had to push it (Martin’s decision) until next Tuesday, I would’ve been okay with that,” said Mangini.
The next step for Martin is unclear. He has not officially retired, yet has not made it clear that by sitting out this season it would make him more ready to play next season. Martin is signed for next season, but as Bill Parcells once said to Martin, “Be smart enough to know when not to push.”
Martin stated that his decision last night came with a lot of hardship but ultimately was in the best interest for him. According to Martin, this was the first time he thought about himself before the team. He went into to talk to Mangini, but wanted to make sure with the doctors first that he was making the right decision. After talking to GM Mike Tannenbaum, Martin decided there was no point talking to the doctors and he knew it was over.
“Part of me felt relieved last night,” said Martin after making the brutal decision. “I could live a normal life if I never played again and my condition could only get worse by playing,” said Martin. “Could I handle playing and scoring a touchdown, yes, but will it hinder playing with my kids, yes it will,” remarked Martin.
This is where Martin is in his life, he is worried about his future and his family. Martin replied that, “you look at things differently towards the end of your career” and that is what he is doing. Martin will not comeback to play with a knee that if hit correctly could ruin his life forever. Right now, Martin can walk without a limp and it appears he wants it to stay that way.
Does Martin have any regrets no, in fact, Martin stated that the only thing he didn’t do in his career that he had wanted, was win a Super Bowl. “Yards never meant much more than contributing to a team win,” said Martin and that’s what he did best, rush the ball to help his team win games.
- Martin’s decision can be summed up in the religious verse, “A good thing is better than riches and gold.”
- Martin told reporters that since his seventh year in the league, he has been planning for his retirement, “I’m busier now than when I played.” He didn’t go into details about specifics but gave the impression that he had several endorsement deals lined up. It’s likely his charismatic personality will also garner a lot of offers to do TV and radio.
- Martin also said that, “If my last game was the 15 carries for 29 yards against the Patriots then I have no regrets at all.”
- To Martin, “retirement is an inevitable outcome.”
- OL Pete Kendall called Martin, “a sure first ballot Hall-of-Famer” and was pleased that Martin could “go out on his own terms.”
- RB Kevan Barlow called Martin a “special guy” and WR Laveranues Coles said that, “Curtis has to do what’s best for Curtis.”
The Jets have off for the rest of the week, but will return Monday in preparation for Mangini/Belichick II.