When I heard that Curtis Martin was planning to officially announce his retirement, my first thought was, "No shit, you mean he's not gonna run around 350 lb motherfuckers with that bone on bone? Everyone knows he's not playing again. Is the announcement really necessary?"
Well, apparently it was for me.
As I see stories about his retirement and I hear ad-nauseam how he's 4th on the All-Time NFL Rushing List, I realize, as a Jets fan and a fan of the NFL, I should have been a bit more appreciative of him and his career.
I did the math in my head on what 4th on the All-Time Rushing list meant... Emmitt Smith of the Arizona Cardinals shamelessly broke Walter Payton's record, and Barry Sanders was nipping at Payton's record when he hung em' up, so that means Martin's behind those 3 guys. Really? That's pretty fucking incredible. I didn't feel like I was watching the 4th most successful rusher in NFL history. But I should have.
On top of being the team's all-time leading rusher, something that really puts what he's meant to the Jets franchise in perspective is all the way down at the bottom of his Wikipedia entry:
New York Jets Starting Running Back
Preceded by Adrian Murrell
Succeeded by Kevan Barlow
I would be remiss not to acknowledge his off the field triumphs as well. Curtis had a tough upbringing, but made it out as successfully as one could. In this day and age of self-promotion, commercialism and stupidity, Curtis kept a relatively low profile (outside of one awful McDonald's commercial with that whore Tiki). A true class act, in a time when they're so hard to find.
It's been tough being a Jets fan my whole life, but Curtis Martin surely made it a whole lot more respectable for almost a decade. His character and abilities will be missed.