He's been called old. People questioned whether he would break down. Some even wondered if Curtis Martin would be in a Jets jersey next season. How did he respond? By having what his...
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. He’s been called old. People questioned whether he would break down.
Some even wondered if Curtis Martin would be in a Jets jersey next season.
How did he respond?
By having what his teammates consider the best season of his 10-year NFL career.
“I think so,” fullback Jerald Sowell said. “It’s the most yards he’s had, or I think he’s approaching that. We’re winning right now and he’s healthy finally and he’s running really well this year. He’s a consistent player and a leader on the team. When your leader is doing well and he’s healthy, it’s tough to stop him.
“He’s the driving force of this offense.”
Martin helped the Jets toss aside the Seahawks 37-14 yesterday, churning and steering for 134 yards and two touchdowns in such an unflashy way the magnitude of his career sometimes goes unnoticed.
But that’s been the style of Martin’s career, all 13,180 yards of it.
And like most running backs, Martin gave praise to his offensive line. Unlike most running backs, Martin barely took any credit himself.
“They came into this today and challenged us,” Martin said of his offensive line. “They said, ‘What are you going to do today, Curt? I said, ‘I’m going to do what you all do. If you all block, I’m going to run.’
“They did a great job for me today.”
He’s now 2 yards shy of his best statistical season, when he gained 1,513 yards in 2001.
But he’s run like this his entire career. He’s consistent. Dependable.
Every year for the past decade, he’s been a 1,000-yard rusher.
Martin, 31, looking dapper after the game in his tan hat and turtleneck shirt covered by a cranberry-red jacket, is admired by his teammates.
“I watched him all my life coming up,” said rookie wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, 22. “When he was with the Patriots, I admired how he ran the ball, you know. Now I’m here playing with him.
“It’s an honor.”
Honor is a word a lot of his Jets teammates used when describing their offensive leader.
It’s an honor to play with him. An honor to block for him. They give him such effusive praise they make him sound old.
But they don’t necessarily want to call him that.
“We’re talking about a guy at his age, and I don’t want to say he’s old because he’s not,” Jets coach Herman Edwards said. “He’s like fine wine. He gets better as he gets older.”
“Yeah,” Jets tight end Anthony Becht said, “I mean, you know, especially when everybody I don’t want to say down on him but saying he was old and that stuff. Throw that out the window. …
“It’s just an honor honestly to be out there when he’s getting the touches and doing the things he does.”
What he’s doing is winning. Silencing any doubters. Continuing to make himself one of the NFL’s all-time elite runners.
Not too bad for an old guy.