Curtis Martin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   With all the athletes today who are money-hungry and greedy, I believe there is one player who is not that way: New England Patriots running back, Curtis Martin. Martin had a tough life being raised in one of the roughest sections of Pittsburgh with gangs and drugs dealers all around him. His mother was afraid they would get to him, and he would fall victim to urban street crime, so she decided to do something about it. Curtis never played any high school sport before he signed up for football in his senior year. He made the team as starting varsity running back.

After his high school days, he attended Pittsburgh, better known as Pitt. His first three years were very successful but during his senior year, he injured his knee, which may be the reason he was so far down in the draft. In the third round of the 1995 NFL draft, the New England Patriots selected Martin with the 36th pick they obtained from Philadelphia for fullback Kevin Turner.

Curtis was just about an instant success. In his first NFL pro game, he rushed for 102 yards against the Cleveland Browns. Curtis went on to have four more games with over 100 yards rushing. He was named AFC offensive player of the week twice and led rookies in touchdowns and rushing yards and rushing attempts.

Despite Curtis' success, he spent most of the year living in a small hotel outside of Foxboro Stadium. I was amazed when I heard one of the Patriots' opponents interviewed after a game admit trash talking to Martin. Afterwards Martin got right up, stood in the man's face and said, "Bless you, friend," which quickly silenced the trash talker.

The latest thing I've heard about Martin was that he was invited to a 9-year-old's birthday party, which, to my surprise, he attended! He signed autographs and gave the birthday boy an autographed jersey, a gesture I'm not sure too many pro-sports players would do. In the days of greed in pro sports, it's good to see players like Curtis are still around. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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