Curtis Martin: "It Meant A Lot To Me" To Get Pitt HOF Call

Cook and Joe Show

Joe Kapp
May 15, 2020 - 5:31 pm
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Curtis Martin. Getty Images

Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin is one of the newly selected members of the 2020 Pitt sports Hall of Fame class and he tells Cook and Joe when he joined them on Friday getting that word reminded him of the hard beginnings that led him here.


“It meant a lot to me,” Martin said. “It takes me back to where this whole thing got started at an attempt to save my life and as an attempt to not get caught up in the environment that I was growing up in.”


Martin told the guys that he was watching many of his friend s getting killed and going to jail. So his mother forced him to find something to do with the hours after school so that wouldn’t end up happening to him…it forced him into playing football. It was a choice he made because he felt he had the ability and something he knew.


Who knew it would lead to a Hall of Fame career?


“When I look at what football has met in my life it brings a great sense of appreciation,”  Martin said. “I would have never guessed football would have played such a huge role in my life from the mentality I had when I started playing.”


His play in high school lead him to Pitt where when he looks back on his time there he has many regrets that he didn’t put forth a better effort.


“When I look back on my Pitt career it was definitely a time in my life where you can say I cheated the university, I cheated my teammates and I cheated myself.. “ Martin added. “I was such a knucklehead. I literally didn’t take football seriously. I mean I would go out and be out all night and not even go to sleep and go straight to practice. I wouldn’t lift weights…you know I just messed around and didn’t take footballs seriously…and more so than anything I wish I would have simply because of the people I felt like I cheated.”


Martin rushed for 2,643 career yards at Pitt despite playing in only two games during his final season in 1994 due to injury. One of the highlights of his collegiate career came in the '94 opener when Martin dashed for 251 yards against the Texas Longhorns, setting a Big East single-game rushing record. Martin was a first-team All-Big East running back in 1993 after rushing for 1,075 yards.


That injury in his senior season caused him to make decisions about his future if he would return to college of enter the NFL Draft.


He tells Cook and Joe it was a conversation with Coach Majors that gave him the answers he needed.


“That pushed me in the right direction, I was totally unaware if I could even survive in the NFL,” Martin said. “But him challenging me the way he did brought the best out of me and more than proving him wrong I wanted to prove myself right and so it helped me to be as determined and as I had ever been in my life.”


He was forever grateful to him for that talk and so are we because we all got to witness Martin going to the NFL and having a hall of Fame career.