5 Questions with Curtis Martin

The Jets' running back spoke to the New York media about his tumultuous season, and revealed that he severely sprained his other ankle midway through the season and played through more pain than ever before in his career.

Q.  Herm talked yesterday about now there's maybe a feeling that you're starting over now, because now this season is over.  At what point does it kind of feel like you're going to be starting over; that this season is done and you stop thinking about what happened this year?

          CURTIS MARTIN:  Well, losing the way we lost yesterday makes it hard, especially coming back from where we came from.  We kind of feel that we were a team of destiny this year.  We all hoped for the best and the best didn't turn out.

          I think that many of us  ‑‑ I know last night, the feeling I had is, of course, you know, we talked about how I've been around death a lot in my lifetime, and I kind of felt that way today.  I can't equate a game with life, but at the same time, it was just that same emptiness, as if, you know, wow, and just like you said about a person who died, you just try to think about the good THINGS.  You try to think about the past times that you had, good memories together.  I found myself thinking, you know, similar way.  Well, I've got to take away the good that we had this year and somehow put away this disappointment.


Q.  Because there doesn't figure to be as many changes as you guys had from last year to this year, how big of an advantage will that be for you starting out next season, the fact that you'll have some chemistry together?

          CURTIS MARTIN: I think that's important.  One thing going into this year, because I've just, to, me, the way things work is when you have a whole lot of change, it's going to disrupt the chemistry.  And we had a whole lot of changes this year, and that's why I take my hat off to the leadership of this team because to make as many changes as we have, I think we may have only had four people who started on defense last year who were there this year.  I'm not sure of the exact number.  But any time you take something apart so much the way we did this year as a team and try to it back together  ‑‑ I mean, we had the change in the hotel stay, we had change in the way we do things around here, the way we practice, there's a lot of changes going on.  But now we can see that it was for our better, for the betterment of this team.

          It's difficult.  It's difficult.  But I think that only because of the leadership, and I know I keep referring to that, but only because of the leadership were we able to pull it off to get to where we got to this year.


Q.   when you talk about leadership, who are you referring to specifically?  And also, now that you don't have to worry about playing another game this year, is there anything that you have to do physically, i.e., Surgery or something that you have to get yourself ready for next year?

          CURTIS MARTIN: Well, the first question, when I speak of the leadership, I'm speaking of  ‑‑ for one, to me, it starts from the very top on down.  Just from what we've seen out of Woody, I think a lot of guys on this team have so much respect for him.

          I remember telling him when we were like 1‑4,2‑5, I was just saying, you know, I feel bad that you've done all this.  I mean, the way he's treated us, everything is top‑class, to the weight rooms, the locker rooms, everything.  We probably have one of the best locker rooms in the League.  And he puts his heart into this team, and for us to be performing the way we were, I just feel bad for the guy.

          So I think from him, to Herman's coaching staff and then to the leaders on this team, I think that that was the difference in this year.

          And the second part of your question, surgery‑wise, I don't have to do anything.  Rehab‑wise, I will.  I will continue to get rehab.  It may not be every day.  I finally get to take a day off.  But we were talking about it today.  I realize today how much in my own mind, I blocked out the pain, because today, now knowing that I don't have anything to play for, I'm probably in as much pain as far as in my ankles as I've been most of the season.  At least it feels that way, because I feel like I let my guard down now.

          It's been a heck of a season.  It's been a season that I'll always remember because I've never been in this much pain in my entire life before.   It's not only pain, but it's been a continuous pain.  Every day, it's the same pain.  And being that I haven't really had a chance to rest  ‑‑ right now, I won't say it feels as bad as when it first happened, but I'm not too far away from that.  So I'm looking forward to just getting treatment and healing.  I think I'm going to go and lay by somebody's ocean and soak in some saltwater or something like that.


Q.  You had talked about your ankles.  Was there some other injuries?  I know you said after the season you might share a little more in‑depth the actual injuries and the pain.

          CURTIS MARTIN: One of the things was that everyone knew about the first ankle and no one actually knew about the second ankle that had actually got injured almost in the same exact spot, same exact way and everything.  And so like I said, I felt like a boxer with broken hands.  I felt that I was so far off.

          Really, this is in no way an excuse for the season because I'm glad about this season.  Yet, I just know that I wasn't me.  I think the hardest part for me is, as I was explaining to the coaches, knowing there was things I could do and wasn't able to do.


Q.  You had never talked about that publicly all season?

          CURTIS MARTIN: I never like to talk about injuries because to me they are like setting up excuses.  It's like you set up your way out.  So I just choose not to talk about them.  That's something that Bill taught me.  I talked to him one day, and this is when the ankle stuff was first getting started, and he said  ‑‑ I said, "Hey, how you doing, Coach."

          "Good.  I know I'm tired of reading about your ankle."    (Laughter).

          And I agree with him.  I said, "I agree."  I don't like when it's talked about.  And that's just the personal way I like to deal with things, because for me, even when it happens, when I'm on the field, like in the Cleveland game when the second one happened the doctors will come over to me, I'll say just leave me alone for this moment, leave me alone, because right now I'm trying to stay focused and not be distracted by the pain.


Q.  Because of this, does it almost make you  ‑‑ especially now as you walk away from the season, over 1,000 yards, does it make give you a special sense of satisfaction that you did what you did as the season progressed?

          CURTIS MARTIN: One thing, it gives me such a feeling of gratitude, just to  ‑‑ I think being able to deal with this year and get 1,000 yards, like I said before, that's one of my greatest accomplishments.  This will be something, when I think about my football career, this here will stand out the most, because it was extremely hard.

          The thought that I came away with was that, "Wow, with the help of all my teammates, I was able to get 1,000 yards at my worst, because I definitely feel that was the worst point of my career this year, or the worst thing I had to deal with.



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