- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2001

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin, once a Super Bowl MVP, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 51.
Baylor Health Care Center spokeswoman Maureen Porter said Martin died at 8:24 Monday night at Baylor Medical Center in Grapevine.
The four-time Pro Bowler starred for the Cowboys in the 1970s and highlighted his 11-year career by being the co-MVP of the 1978 Super Bowl with Randy White. Martin is the first Super Bowl MVP to die.
Martin underwent major surgery about a year ago, and his condition worsened recently. Porter said Martin's family planned to issue a statement by today.
Martin was one of the Cowboys' most popular players in the 1970s and early '80s, setting team records with 114 career sacks and 20 in 1977. That season he was the AP NFL defensive player of the year.
He led the Cowboys in sacks seven times, and former Dallas coach Tom Landry called Martin the team's best pass-rushing defensive end ever.
"He'll be remembered as one of the great Cowboys of the golden years," former Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm told the Associated Press last night. "He was a great player, one of the first in the group of the first great pass rushers. He accomplished more than was anticipated of him."
Schramm said Martin came into the NFL at a time when defensive ends weren't expected to get many sacks.
Martin and defensive ends like Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams brought sacks into vogue. That helped convince coaches to turn the position into more of a pass-rushing threat than a run-stopper.
Teammates always joked with Martin that he never returned a fumble for a touchdown and that he was once even tackled by the quarterback.
"It never happened to me," Martin said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. "Closest I came was with a fumble. I got tackled by the quarterback, and everybody laughed at me. Both teams.
"I killed many a quarterback. I felt like I scored when I took their head off."
The Dallas native starred at South Oak Cliff High School and East Texas State University (now Texas A&M; University at Commerce) before the Cowboys selected him in the third round of the 1973 draft.
Since retiring in '84, Martin struggled with substance abuse, domestic violence and bankruptcy issues.
In 1996, Martin was jailed on domestic violence and cocaine charges. He received probation on both charges and was sent to the Dallas County Judicial Treatment Center.
He was released after eight months and took a job selling chemical products. Martin also made anti-drug speeches to children.
"I had such a wonderful life before drugs and alcohol abuse," Martin said. "I've got that life back now and plan to keep it. Maybe I had to go through what I did to get to this point, to appreciate this life more."
Schramm doesn't believe Martin's trouble with drugs will tarnish his memory.
"People are accepting of a lot of things today, particularly in that area," Schramm said. "I think that all the people who remember Harvey will remember him as the Harvey that was the football player and not for the drug thing. He handled it well for having the problem."

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