|Former Patriot and Jet Curtis Martin is fourth all-time on the NFL career rushing list with 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries. (Lenny Ignelzi/File/Associated Press)|
Martin receives Hall pass
Parcells is again the odd man out
INDIANAPOLIS - The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2012 induction ceremony will have a New England flavor this year. Running back Curtis Martin, who was drafted and played three years with the Patriots,was among five modern-era players selected yesterday.
Martin is part of a group including defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, defensive end Chris Doleman, left tackle Willie Roaf, and center Dermontti Dawson. The 44-member selection committee also chose cornerback Jack Butler, a member of the 1950s all-decade team.
Among those not selected was coach and executive Bill Parcells, the first man to coach four teams into the playoffs - the Giants, Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys. He led the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl titles and lost a Super Bowl as New England’s coach.
Parcells, will, however be at this year’s ceremony as Martin said there was no one he would rather have introduce him. Parcells coached Martin with the Patriots and Jets.
“It’s one of the most humbling feelings I’ve had in my entire career,’’ Martin said. “The bittersweet part about it is Parcells - he has meant so much to my career. Without him my career isn’t 30 percent of what it was. He taught me not only to be a professional athlete, but also how to be a man.’’
Martin went on to say his career would not have lasted more than four or five seasons without Parcells as his mentor. Martin’s career lasted 11 seasons.
“It’s God and Parcells in terms of who meant most to my career,’’ Martin said.
Martin was one of two third-round draft picks for the Patriots in 1995, when Parcells was coach.
He played in 168 of 176 regular-season games and topped 1,000 yards in every year but 2005, his final season. The year before that, at 31, Martin won his only rushing title when he totaled 1,697 yards.
That year he was an Associated Press first-team All-Pro, an honor added to his five Pro Bowl selections and ’96 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Martin is fourth on the NFL’s career rushing list with 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries. He added 484 receptions for 3,329 yards. He had 90 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving.
Martin only played three seasons in New England. Parcells, who left the Patriots in 1996 to take over the Jets, signed Martin to a six-year, $36 million contract as a restricted free agent. The Patriots declined to match. The Pittsburgh native finished his career in New York.
He was forced to retire because of a right knee injury.
Parcells, who made it through the first round of voting and was one of the final 10, was a surprise omission to many given the success he had rebuilding franchises that had fallen on hard times.
The fact that he won just two Super Bowls - both of them with Bill Belichick as his defensive coordinator - could have been a knock on The Tuna. Another possible hindrance could have been a question of integrity: In early 1997, while still coach of the Patriots, a team that went on to lose Super Bowl XXXI to Green Bay, Parcells was in talks to become Jets head coach.
Parcells’s relationship with team owner Robert Kraft had deteriorated, and he had famously said, “They want you to cook the dinner; they at least ought to let you shop for some of the groceries, OK?’’ It was a reference to the 1996 draft, when Parcells felt he was overruled on the team’s first-round pick.
New England selected receiver Terry Glenn.