Martin Still Going Strong

When Curtis Martin was in High School at Allderdice in Pittsburgh and later at the University of Pittsburgh he never dreamed that he would have the success he has enjoyed in the NFL. <br><br> "I'm grateful," Martin said. "I've had a blessed career. I hope it continues."

Martin needs 37 yards to pass John Riggins for 11th place on the all-time NFL rushing list. Martin passed O.J. Simpson for 12th place last week with 11,314 yards and the amazing statistic is he has done this in nine seasons. The only other player among the top 15 rushing leaders who played only nine seasons was Jim Brown, who ranks sixth on the all-time list with 12,312 yards.

"One of the greatest things about it is, my goal coming into the NFL - I didn't have a goal to be on a top 10 list or anything like that - my goal was just to establish consistency," Martin explained. "That has happened. I hope to continue that."

The fact that Martin has put up these types of numbers is amazing, especially when you take in the fact that he was productive in college at Pitt, but injury prone.

"I don't think that was ever a realistic thought to myself (when I was at Pitt)," Martin said. "Right now, it seems like I'm in that position and trying to make the most of it and just keep going on."

Martin still keeps tabs on Pitt, but doesn't follow them as closely as one might expect.

"I haven't seen too much," Martin said. "I'm not a real big football fan - I don't watch it too much at all. I listen to what people say and I know that he (Larry Fitzgerald) is having a great year and from what I understand he should win the Heisman. I've seen maybe one game. I support Pitt, but I'm not a big football fan and I don't watch it too much."

Martin is more concerned about what is happening with his team, the New York Jets, and is disappointed that they have slipped to 5-8 after making the playoffs a year ago.

"We realize that a lot of things were right there for the taking for us," Martin lamented. "And we just didn't take it. We've come up short a lot of times that we felt we could of, should have got the job done. Especially after you come in and watch film after a game and when you've lost in the last two minutes - a lot of our games have been like that this year."

While the Jets play out the string, Martin continues his assault on the NFL record book. He needs 47 yards against the Steelers on Sunday to become the second player in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 yards in each of his first nine seasons. The only other player to do that was Barry Sanders.

Since he joined the Jets as a restricted free agent in 1998, Martin has rushed for more yards (7,515) than any other back in the NFL. The next closest player is Eddie George (7,009). Jerome Bettis is 10th with 5,929 yards, 1,586 yards less than Martin.


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