After 11 regular seasons and 10 postseason contests, Curtis Martin was an interested onlooker at the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week. Martin, a 33-year-old sure Hall of Famer who is expected to formally announce his retirement this offseason, wanted to view the combine from a different angle.
"I'm at the end of my career, and I've never had a chance to see the combine from this perspective so I wanted to come," he told NFL Network. "Of course I'm not the talent anymore, I am just observing now. I just wanted to see it from this angle, so I flew out for a day."
But Martin says he won't put on a coaching hat anytime soon. Nor is the NFL's fourth-all time leader rusher likely to begin a scouting career. He did indicate that he would like to write books in the future.
"I am not a huge X and O guy," he said. "I know that I wouldn't want to put in the time that it takes to be a coach. I don't love the game that much as far as the Xs and Os go to be involved that way."
Martin arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon and left Monday evening. During his time at the RCA Dome, he watched the running backs, the receivers, the defensive linemen, and the linebackers. Martin was even spotted in the lifting room, eyeing John Lott – Martin's strength coach here with the Jets from 1998-2004 – encourage youngsters on the bench press.
Not all of the young prospects recognized Martin, but Kansas State product Thomas Clayton happily introduced himself to the Jets' all-time rusher.
"Mr. Martin, I just want to shake your hand," Clayton said. "You are a legend."
During the course of his interview with NFL Network, Martin was asked what makes a successful running back.
"I think a running back needs to learn how to read his blocks and needs to learn how to be patient," he said. "Most people just want to get the ball and run, but it's not all about that. I am definitely not the fastest guy, the strongest guy and probably not the quickest guy, but at the same time I have learned, through experience, how to read the blocks. That would be number one.
"Besides your worth ethic, I think as a running back you have to have that intangible which is a mentality that you are so competitive and you won't allow anyone to stop you. You have to have this burning desire to be the best all the time. You always have to work on your game."
With his football career most likely over, Martin says you may be soon hearing about some of his business ventures.
"I have two that I really am working on and some of its confidential because we are in the middle of signing contracts, but I'm sure you will hear about it sometime shortly."
And after a quick trip to Indy, Martin was gone. When he performed in the 1995 NFL Combine, Martin participated in all the drills except the 40-yard dash. Perhaps he was saving his legs for one of the finest careers in league history.