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Martin, 4 linemen make Hall of Fame
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Curtis Martin has gone from the mean streets of Pittsburgh to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The star running back with the Patriots and Jets for 11 seasons was one of six players elected Saturday to the shrine. Martin once disliked playing the game, but used it to escape a neighborhood where his grandmother was murdered.
“When I get awarded something like the Hall of Fame, it’s almost foreign to me,” said Martin, the NFL’s No. 4 career rusher. “This wasn’t something I planned on doing. Football is something I did so I didn’t end up jailed or dead.
“If you make up your mind to just do the right thing no matter what … and you stick to it, which I did, this is how things can turn around. I feel as if my life turned around from what it used to be, and I think anyone has a chance.”
Martin and four linemen were elected to the hall, along with one senior committee choice. He is joined by Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf, Dermontti Dawson, and senior selection Jack Butler.
“I’m not even close to this position, I actually don’t think I’d play more than four or five years without Bill Parcells,” Martin said, indicating he will have his former coach present him for induction on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
A panel of 44 media members voted.
Martin made it for his consistency and durability, rushing for 14,101 and 90 touchdowns. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons, the first three with New England and the others with the Jets. The 1995 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Martin won the NFL rushing title in 2004 with 1,697 yards.
Doleman had 150 1/2 sacks in his 15 seasons, mostly with Minnesota, and was one of the prototype agile yet powerful pass rushers who dominate the game today. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and was fourth on the sacks list when he retired.
Kennedy was a force inside, both as a run stopper and in threatening quarterbacks. The 1992 Defensive Player of the Year made eight Pro Bowls, had 58 sacks _ an unusually high total for a tackle _ and spent his entire 11-season career with Seattle.
He waited by his phone to hear whether he’d made it after a six-year wait, and was happy he had the television on when the announcement was made.
“I thought I was supposed to get a call. I didn’t get a call. I had to watch it on TV,” Kennedy said.
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