Archive for the 'Breaking the Plane' Category

Brain Damage, Not Domestic Violence Will Hasten the NFL’s Downfall

Junior Seau and Dave Duerson were both found to have CTE after they killed themselves.

Junior Seau and Dave Duerson were both found to have CTE after they killed themselves.

The past week has been a public relations nightmare for the National Football League (NFL) and its commissioner, Roger Goodell. First, Goodell came under fire from social and mainstream media for his gross mishandling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after a video surfaced showing Rice knocking his wife unconscious with a punch to the face in an Atlantic City hotel elevator.

Days later, one of the league’s marquee stars, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, was indicted on charges of child abuse for beating his four-year-old son. Shortly after being reinstated by the Vikings after sitting out a game, pictures of his allegedly abused son hit the internet, amid reports that Peterson is supposedly under investigation for abusing another one of his young children, via yahoo.com.

The public was outraged by the league’s perceived indifference towards domestic violence, which became the subject of endless talk show commentary. Yet, it is a story from last week which received very little national attention that poses the greatest threat to the league’s long-term profits and viability.

The NFL submitted documents in federal court which concluded that “it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at “notably younger ages” than in the general population,” via the New York Times. This position represents a 180 degree turn from the league’s long-standing claim that there is no evidentiary link between concussions and cognitive impairment in former players. In fact, the league went to great lengths to withhold such evidence from players and the public, via ESPN.com.

The avalanche of anecdotal evidence linking professional football to cognitive impairment has picked up speed in recent years, with the suicides of former players Andre Waters, Ray Easterling, Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, the murder/suicide case of Kansas City Chiefs lineback Javon Belcher, and the advent of new technology, which provides greater insight into the condition of the human brain.

Researchers are now able to test deceased athletes for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative brain disease that can follow multiple hits to the head. A study published in the journal Brain in December 2012, examined the brains of 35 deceased former football players. Of the 35 players, 34 of them at the professional level, who had brain tissue sampled posthumously for the study, all but one showed evidence of disease.

The report submitted by the league in court was not accompanied by a startling video like the one TMZ.com acquired of Rice punching his girlfriend, though the numbers in the report are startling and there is plenty of jarring footage demonstrating the tragic results of too many hits to the head. The excerpts below from the PBS feature “League of Denial” of late Pittsburgh Steeler great Mike Webster and former New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins safety Gene Atkins are two disturbing examples.

Many other former players have provided chilling accounts of their declining quality of life in recent years, including these heartbreaking comments by Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett.

The Rice and Peterson situations will blow over as soon as the ultra-reactionary Twittersphere finds a new target for its collective outrage. Goodell could take the fall if team owners bow to pressure from sponsors who are beginning to grumble about the league’s handling of the Rice and Peterson cases (Radisson suspended its sponsorship of the Vikings and Anheuser-Busch, sponsor of the official beer of the NFL, delivered scathing criticism of the league’s handling of the Peterson and Rice situations), but the NFL will walk away from the scandals relatively unscathed.

The league will commit to supporting charitable organizations that raise awareness about domestic violence, implement a stricter player conduct policy, and continue with business as usual.

But if the Rice and Peterson sagas are a mere blip on the NFL’s radar, the court documents submitted by the league represent a seismic shift, analogous to the admission by tobacco companies that evidence suggests a causal link between cigarettes and lung cancer.

The NFL has passed numerous new rules in recent years in an attempt to reduce the number of concussions, from prohibiting defenders from leading with their heads, to protecting “defenseless receivers,” to moving kickoffs up to the 40-yard-line. The league also implemented a more stringent protocol for players to return to the field after a concussion and continues to experiment with safer helmets.

However, football built its immense popularity on the type of collisions the NFL is now attempting to legislate out of the game. Modifying the game will alienate fans without solving the problem. The human body is not built to absorb hits from men the size and strength of professional football players, moving at remarkable speed.

Time is working against the NFL, as science discovers new ways to measure the impact of head trauma faster than the sport can address the issue. And the studies being conducted are no longer confined to the professional level. Earlier this year, the Journal of American Medical Association published a study, which concluded that “the brains of college football players are subtly different from the brains of other students, especially if the players have experienced a concussion in the past,” via the New York Times.

How much longer will parents allow their children to play such a barbaric game? At what point will elite athletes pursue sports that do not pose a significant risk of brain damage? When will the average fan stop tuning in to witness the carnage?

Football is entrenched in American society, and the NFL is an extremely powerful industry. The game will not disappear over night. But a steady decline in popularity, similar to the one experienced by boxing, is inevitable. The tipping point is likely to be a leaked video of a former star quarterback speaking gibberish or putting a shotgun to his chest, not an image associated with Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson.

The Most Over-Hyped Day in Sports

It’s that time of year again, the holiest of holy days for hardcore football fans, the first day of the NFL Draft. Millions of fanatics around the country have spent the past few weeks reading mock drafts, blog posts and articles in an attempt to figure out which players their team should and will select. Tonight they’ll don their jerseys and get together with their buddies to wait in breathless anticipation for the selection of the player that will change the course of their franchise.

After following the NFL for many years and attending several draft viewing parties myself, I can’t help but wonder, why all the fuss?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the allure of the draft. It’s developed into a holiday, an oasis from the drought of five months between the Super Bowl and training camp. Unlike the Super Bowl, the commercialization of which has drawn all sectors of society, the draft is reserved for serious football fans. Hope springs eternal for supporters of all teams as they look towards the future. In fact, the more a fan base has suffered, the greater the excitement, as the teams select in inverse order to last season’s standings.

The draft also appeals to the widespread interest in fantasy football in this country. What are mock drafts, but fantasy additions to real rosters. ESPN has been tweeting mock draft picks for each team, one at a time, as if they’re actually occurring. Speculating as to which player will go where provides a fun diversion from work and other boring or stressful aspects of life.

Then there’s the reality show aspect of the draft, as we watch the 20 or so players in attendance sweat it out as they wait to be selected. There’s the built-in drama of the last player present to be selected. Who can forget watching the expression on Brady Quinn’s face change from excitement to despair as he slipped to the 22nd pick in the 2007 draft? ESPN works the emotional angle with feature pieces on a few of the players who persevered through particularly trying childhoods in pursuit of their dream to play in the NFL.

I also appreciate the importance of the draft for its impact on the future of a franchise. Due to restrictions on player movement created by the salary cap and franchise tags, management must acquire young, relatively low-cost talent through the draft in order to field a competitive team. If a franchise misses badly with their selections, it will come back to haunt them in years to come, whereas, selecting a stud player in the first round or a diamond in the rough later on can make a team a perennial contender.

Sports networks and publications, ESPN chief among them, have preyed on fans enthusiasm and unquenchable thirst for information about their teams to convince them that they 1) have the inside scoop on who their team is going to select and 2) are qualified to make an informed judgment as to whether that selection is a wise one. Those assumptions lead fans to read a new mock draft every day, watch hours worth of draft specials in the weeks leading up to the draft and devour every review of their team’s selections. The problem is, for the most part, those assumptions are incorrect.

While there are some exceptions, the so-called draft “experts” don’t have any better idea than you or I which player a team will select. Teams guard their interest in players as if they’re matters of national security. In fact, much of the information leaked and reported on by the media is disinformation generated by teams with the intent to mislead other teams as to their intentions.

Much of the draft-related news the sports media reports isn’t news at all. For example, various media outlets noted this week that the New York Jets contacted highly coveted running back Trent Richardson. The Alabama product is a beast and every team in the league would love to acquire his services. The fact that the Jets contacted him provides no indication as to whether they will trade up to select him as many analysts have suggested. They may simply be doing their due diligence, collecting as much information as they can on every draftee.

There are only two players in this draft whose destination the draft “gurus” can predict with any degree of certainty, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and fans don’t need an expert to tell them where those guys are going. Luck has been the presumptive number one pick in this year’s draft since he announced that he would be returning to Stanford for his Junior season over a year ago and the Colts publicly confirmed that they’ll be selecting him this past Monday. It was also evident that the Redskins intended to select the only other franchise quarterback in the draft, Griffin III, the moment they traded four picks to move up to the number two spot. The known destinations of Luck and Griffin III, the only two superstars in this draft, only removes suspense from the evening for the casual NFL fan.

Despite what ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay want you to believe, nobody, including the so-called “experts” has any idea how successful an individual draft pick or a team’s draft on the whole will be. History has proven that at best, the experts’ predictions are a little better than fifty/fifty. That’s the case across positions, for the highest picks, up to and including the first overall selection.

For every Peyton Manning – the 11 time Pro-Bowl quarterback selected first overall by the Colts in 1998 – there’s a David Carr – the first overall pick by the Texans in 2002 who settled in as a career back-up – or JaMarcus Russell – the first pick of the 2007 draft who was out of the league after three years with the Raiders. And those are players who were picked first overall. For those chosen in the later r0unds, it’s a complete crapshoot. So what’s the point of listening to a panel on ESPN or the NFL Network break down a team’s pick?

I’m not trying to dissuade anybody from watching the draft. It’s a great opportunity to hang out with the guys while getting your football fix. Any serious fan would want to know about the newest additions to his team’s roster and how those players may be able to help. Just remember that some of the guys your team picks will pan out and some won’t and regardless of what the blowhards at ESPN say, you won’t have any idea which category your team’s selections fall into until they strap on the pads for real in September. Until then, don’t believe the hype.

You’re a Real Man Deion!

In honor of Deion Sanders’ induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this evening, here’s a highlight reel of vintage “Prime Time” from his early years with the Atlanta Falcons.

And who can forget this classic confrontation with announcer Tim McCarver…

Is Brandon Marshall the Only Wide Receiver With a Personality Disorder?

by Paul Knepper

A week ago, Brandon Marshall was considered just your average egomaniacal wide receiver; self-centered, attention seeking, demanding, aversive to authority and inclined to engage in risky and/or violent activities off the field.
On Monday, the Miami Dolphins wide receiver took the courageous step of publicly revealing that he suffers from a serious psychiatric illness called borderline personality disorder (BPD). The diagnosis helps explain his history of domestic violence and disruptive behavior in the locker room.

But what does that say about all the other wide receivers in the league who share many of Marshall’s personality traits? Are several of the NFL’s elite wide receivers mentally ill?

The common characteristics of BPD are: a pervasive pattern of affective instability, severe difficulties in interpersonal relationships, problems with behavioral or impulse control (including suicidal behaviors) and disrupted cognitive processes. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning and the individual’s sense of self-identity.

There’s a long list of wide receivers who have severe difficulty with interpersonal relationships and problems with impulse control. I could rattle off countless examples of domestic abuse, confrontation with coaches and impulsive acitivities like running over a police officer or attempting suicide.

Perhaps more revealing is BPD’s not-so-distant cousin, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A diagnosis of NPD is based on the existence of at least five of these qualities:

·         Grandiose sense of self-importance

·         Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, love, etc.

·         Believes that he/she is special

·         Requires excessive admiration

·         Has a sense of entitlement

·         Is interpersonally exploitive

·         Lacks empathy

·         Envious of others

·         Shows arrogance

People suffering with NPD often have unreasonable expectations of special treatment and tend to react to criticism with rage, shame or humiliation.

Of course, it’s possible to be narcissistic without having NPD. Narcissism is rampant in our society and appears to be more prevalent among athletes in general. We’ve grown accustomed to athletes speaking of themselves or “their talents” in the third person, referring to themselves as a brand or coming up with their own nicknames. Yet, wide receivers appear to take the concept of the narcissistic athlete to another level.

Their narcissistic tendencies have been enhanced by increased media exposure and reinforced by an escalation of in number and value of endorsement opportunities, however, the concept of the narcissistic wide receiver is not a new phenomena.

In 1973, Dr. Arnold Mandell, a team psychiatrist for the San Diego Chargers, created personality profiles for every football position. His analysis of the wide receiver was spot on and still rings true thirty eight years later.

“The wide receiver is a very special human being,” Mandell wrote. “He shares many features with actors and movie stars. He is narcissistic and vain and basically a loner.”

He added, “They love to be the center of attention. They need to be noticed. They have an imperviousness in that they don’t seem to mind criticism about being like that. All players want the respect of fellow players. Showing off usually is not an admired characteristic by most players, but by wide receivers it is very admired.”

“They are interested in looking pretty, being pretty. They are elegant, interpersonally isolated. Wide receivers don’t group, they don’t mob out. They are actors, uninflected about showing off, individualists, quite interested in their own welfare, their own appearance.”

Sound like somebody you know? How about Brandon Marshall, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Keyshawn Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Chad Ochocinco and Michael Irvin, to name a few.

Some may argue that there are players with big egos at every position in the NFL, it’s just more noticable with wide receivers because they play a high profile position. The hole in that argument is that quarterback and running back are also high profile positions, in fact, quarterbacks draw more attention than wide receivers, yet they don’t come across nearly as narcissistic.

Of course, that’s not to say that all wide receivers are narcissists. Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison never drew attention to themselves on or off the field (prior to Dancing With the Stars) and the two top current wide receivers, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, project an air of humility. Still, the percentage of narcissistic wide receivers seems disproportionately high.

So why are wide receivers so narcissistic?

There’s a chicken or the egg aspect to this question. Does the wide receiver position create narcissism or are narcissistic athletes drawn to wide reciever because of the nature of the position? It may be a little of both.

The wide receiver’s profile in relation to the quarterback may be part of the problem. Wide receivers are generally the best athletes on the field, yet they don’t receive as much attention or credit as the quarterback. Their production and profile is actually to a large extent dependent on the quarterback. Both of those facors can lead to resentment, which may manifest as narcissism. Consider Terrell Owens, who has thrown one quarterback after another under the bus, seemingly because he wanted to be the star of the team.

A possible explanation for the high rate of narcissism among wide receivers as compared to the other high profile positions is that narcissists are weeded out due to the demands of those positions. The quarterback is the team leader and if he puts his concerns and ego ahead of the team he won’t be in the league very long. Running backs are humbled by the constant pounding they take throughout the game. Narcissists are unlikely to seek that position or last at it if they do.

The wide receiver’s positioning on the field may be a factor as well. They line up alone on an island, which can foster a sense of distance from teammates or a feeling that one’s special. On the flip side, it’s very possible that loners or narcissistic personalities prefer wide receiver because of the isolation or high profile of the position, without the pressures or pouding that come with touching the ball more frequently.

Regardless of the cause, it’s diffficult to argue with the premise that narcissism is a common trait among NFL wide recievers. I’m not qualified to speculate as to whether the personality traits of specific receivers rise to the level of a disorder, or which disorder they may have. It’s an interesting subject for a psychological study.

Brandon Marshall deserves credit for recognizing his illness and seeking help. Maybe some other receivers will follow his lead. Then again, that wouldn’t be very narcissistic of them.

A Tale of Two Buckeyes

Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel resigned yesterday amid mounting accusations of violations within the Ohio State program and his role in covering them up. During his ten seasons in Columbus, the man known for his trademark red and gray sweater-vests won a remarkable seven Big Ten titles, the 2002 National Championship and went 9-1 against the Buckeyes’ archrival Michigan. He was a religious man, a father figure to his players and adored by the Buckeye faithful.

Tressel’s predecessor at OSU John Cooper, who was fired after the 2000 season, was despised by OSU alumni for his 2-10-1 record against the Wolverines. Tressel and Cooper’s old nemesis, former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr recently shed light on the difference between the two men. On May 17th, following an announcement by the National Football Foundation indicating that Carr had been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, he told Dan Wolken of TheDaily.com, “John Cooper always told me, ‘You know, they may fire me, but they’ll never fire me for cheating.'” Apparently, the mighty sweater-vest didn’t share his convictions.

Below is an audio link to Carr’s comments about Cooper. He also talks about the integrity of his mentor Bo Schembechler and his views on the enforcement of NCAA rules.

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xiriq0

Don’t Forget the PCP

The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is set to expire on March 4th and a player lockout is looming. Owners and players are deliberating several key issues, including; an 18 game season, rookie salaries, player safety and retirement and disability benefits. Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), DeMaurice Smith, should be contesting the deeply flawed Player Conduct Policy (PCP) as well.

In order to protect the players’ rights, any conduct policy in a professional sports league must be clear, consistent and subject to review by a neutral party. The current NFL PCP falls way short of those standards.

In April 2007, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell instituted the current PCP in response to several highly publicized off-the-field incidents involving NFL players. It states in part:

“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. Instead, as an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful. Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime.”

The NFLPA should have been up in arms over the arbitrary policy which tramples on the rights of the players, but then Executive Director Gene Upshaw endorsed it instead.

The above passage is confusing and problematic to the players for several reasons. For starters, it specifies that a player doesn’t need to be convicted of a crime to be punished, which was the standard under the previous PCP instituted by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, but fails to identify any specific criteria for under what circumstances or to what extent a player can be punished. There’s simply a vague reference to the players responsibility to “promote the values upon which the league is based.”

Without a clear trigger for applying the policy, such as an arrest or conviction, players are subject to the whim of the commissioner, leaving them susceptible to unfair and arbitrary punishment. This lack of guidelines or any reliance on precedent has led to an inconsistency in the punishments rendered.

For example, the late Chris Henry was suspended for the first eight games of the 2007 season after committing six offenses, including; five arrests (marijuana possession, concealed weapons charges, DUI, providing alcohol to minors, and assault and disorderly conduct) and three driving citations.

Compare that to the rap sheet of Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was arrested 4 times (DUI and Domestic Assault three times), charged two other times while in college, involved in seven additional domestic abuse calls in which no charges were filed, and once fired a gun at his father. The then Denver Bronco received three game suspension in 2008, which was reduced to just one game on appeal.

Several players committed multiple offenses and were not suspended at all, such as, former Lions safety Dwight Smith (arrested for indecent conduct, charged of brandishing a handgun, misdemeanor marijuana position and arrested for pulling a fake gun on fans) and Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh (arrested three times, two of which involved driving with weapons in the car.)

On the other hand, Giants linebacker Michael Foley and and Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington were suspended a game each after just one offense; both were arrested for domestic abuse. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season, and while the accusations made against him – sexual assault and rape – are very serious, he was never even charged for either alleged incident.

How does the NFL reconcile these discrepancies in punishment? It doesn’t have to because suspended players aren’t provided sufficient recourse. The policy states “Any person disciplined under this policy shall have a right of appeal, including a hearing, before the Commissioner or his designee.” So basically, a player who is suspended by the commissioner has the right to appeal the suspension to the commissioner – which is essentially no right of appeal at all.

In other sports, punishments handed down by the commissioner’s office are subject to review by a neutral arbitrator who ensures that the punishment fits the offense and has the ability to strike down or decrease an overly aggressive or seemingly arbitrary disciplinary action against a player. This prohibits the commissioner from punishing a player excessively in order to send a message to the rest of the league, which seems to have been at least part of Goodell’s motivation for suspending players like Henry and Roethlisberger.

Another problem stemming from the current PCP is that in order for the commissioner to punish a player who hasn’t been convicted of a crime the NFL must rely on its own investigations of reported incidents. Investigators hired by the league are likely not as qualified as law enforcement officers to investigate the facts and reach a proper conclusion as to the player’s culpability. That player is then essentially put on trial by the league without all of the safeguards that come from the judicial system, such as, the ability of the accused to call witnesses on his behalf or contest the evidence against him.

The main issue of contention during the ongoing labor negotiations is the distribution of profits, with player safety a distant second, though DeMaurice Smith shouldn’t stop there. It’s time for the NFLPA to protect the rights of its members by demanding an equitable Player Conduct Policy.

Curtis Martin is More Than a Hall of Famer

By Paul Knepper


Curtis Martin is one of 15 finalists on the ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and should be among those selected this Saturday for induction. As his long time coach Bill Parcells said on Monday, “Running back is a production position, and his production is indisputable.”

Martin’s 14,101 career rushing yards rank fourth all-time behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. He scored 100 touchdowns and joined Sanders as the only players to rush for 1,000 yards in each of their first ten seasons. However, it would be insufficient to reduce Curtis Martin to statistics.

Martin mastered every aspect of the running back position. He wasn’t the fastest or strongest ball carrier, though he had great vision and patience, always knowing when and where to hit the hole. He ran hard, was shifty in traffic and elusive enough to avoid the big hits.

The former University of Pittsburgh star’s great hands aren’t reflected in his receiving numbers because he typically stayed in to block on passing downs. Number 28 picked up the blitz as well as any running back I’ve ever seen. It didn’t matter if it was Ty Law coming around the corner or Greg Lloyd bursting through the middle, Curtis stood him up.

Any coach will tell you that the number one priority for a running back is to protect the football and Martin did that better than anybody. He has the unofficial record for least fumbles per carry in NFL history and once went 408 touches without coughing it up, followed by another streak of 865 possessions without fumbling. He even retired with a perfect passer rating, connecting for touchdowns to Wayne Chrebet on both passing attempts of his career.

Years ago Parcells told a story about the running back’s rookie season in New England (1995). In the Patriots first pre-season game “The Tuna” wanted to see what his third round draft pick was made of so he called seven consecutive running plays for the kid. After the seventh Parcells called the rookie to the sidelines. Martin had blood and snot smeared across his face and was gasping for air, but when Parcells asked him if he was tired he shook his head no. The coach knew then he was a gamer.

Martin was named Offensive Rookie of the Year that season and after two more years with the Pats reunited with Parcells when he signed with the Jets as a free agent. This past Monday his former coach shared another great story. During a Jets victory over the Dolphins at the Meadowlands:

“[Martin] hits his head on the back of the turf really hard,” Parcells said. “He’s just laying there 4-5 feet from my feet. And this stream of blood just starts running out of his nose, both nostrils. It runs down onto his lips as he is laying there. He just gets up, he just stares at me as he is walking back to the huddle, blood running down his face. Mentally very strong.”

Martin earned the respect of teammates and opponents by providing  that type of effort during every practice and game of his eleven year career. He missed just four games during his first ten seasons, playing in 119 straight at one point, a remarkable feat at a position which receives so much punishment. He suited up with torn muscles, badly sprained ankles and for several games during his final season a serious knee injury which ended his career.

It was his ability to sustain his effort and production over a long period of time which made him great. Running backs are lucky to have six or seven prime seasons before the constant pounding slows them down. Martin won the rushing title in his tenth season, the oldest player ever to do so, at the age of 31.

In a football era of narcissistic personalities and off-the-field turmoil, Martin simply handed the ball to the referee after scoring touchdowns and made a point of  picking up all the dirty towels in the locker room once a week in order to remain humble. Can you imagine another star athlete doing that?

Number 28 never crooned for the cameras either. He was the fourth leading rusher of all-time, playing in the biggest market in the country, and received relatively little national acclaim. His New York counterpart Tiki Barber was a much bigger star even though he fumbled more times in a game than Martin did all season.

 

The Jets running back was worthy of admiration away from the field as well. He said on several occasions that he views football as a platform which enables him to help others. That wasn’t just talk. He put aside 12% of every football paycheck for charity and founded the Curtis Martin Job Foundation.

Now he works with single mothers, an organization that sends doctors to third-world countries to perform operations, and helps fight homelessness in New York City. There’s a well known story about the time he sat in Times Square in freezing weather for three hours until he convinced a homeless man to accept a temporary residence.

Last summer, Martin was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor. More telling than the accolade was the site of the typically cantankerous Parcells tearing up as he  introduced his former running back. Martin took the mic and at the end of his speech said, “New York, you’ve been good to me and I hope I’ve been as good to you as you’ve been to me. I hope I’ve been a good role model for your children.” You certainly have Curtis.

A bust in Canton would be nice, but Curtis Martin is much more than a Hall of Famer.

 



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