With the memory of his 22-yard touchdown catch in World Bowl XIII still fresh in his memory, Ruvell Martin has reported to training camp in San Diego. With three weeks between gigs, that leaves little time for relaxation, let alone recovery.
"I'm good physically," Martin said. "I'm not really tired, but that's probably just the adrenaline. It's exciting to go back to San Diego and play for a different team. It's not the same thing, so there's a sense of newness to it. I'm just happy to come back with no injuries."
What he has come back to may not be as enjoyable as what he left behind. Now instead of seeing a European tour pass before him, he is staring right at a Chargers' depth chart loaded with talent at receiver from bottom to top.
Instead of fretting over numbers and odds, Martin has chosen instead to focus on a story the coaching staff has told him and several of his teammates numerous times. It is the story of one of his fellow receivers, Eric Parker.
"They told us all about Eric Parker," recalled Martin. "When he first came here there wasn't a roster spot for him. The team was kind of set before he got there. But he came in, played well, and created a spot for himself. Now he's a starter on the team."
Martin knows that if he hopes to make the team it will take a similar effort on his part. That is not a challenge he intends to shy away from, as he is a very humble and determined player. When he was first allocated to NFL Europe, his goal for himself was to just earn a spot on the team. By the time he left, he had matched the league record for touchdown catches in a single season.
"I'm thinking about it the same way I did in Europe," said Martin of his mindset in Chargers' camp. "I am going to try my best to make the team and work as hard as I can. After that I am going to take everything as it progresses."
It seems as though Martin's life has made incredible progressions as of late. Since his reign of intercontinental domination, he returned home to Michigan to spend time with his new daughter and his fiancé. With training camp already a week old, Martin cherished his time with them before heading back to San Diego. As soon as he came back, his focus changed once again.
"I'm just focused on playing the best I can," Martin said.
With so much going on around him, such focus is a feat in itself. But after matching world records and starting up a new family, earning a spot on the Chargers' roster may not be such a daunting task after all.
It is also no surprise that head coach Marty Schottenheimer has been coy about keeping either five or six roster spots for wide receivers. Knowing he has a plethora of talent at the position, the coach said he wanted to wait until the "bright lights" of preseason before making a determination on Thursday morning.
Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net