Shortly after Curtis Martin received his Gold Jacket Friday night , I spoke with him at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton, OH. It was about 10:30 PM and I wanted to know where he was with his Enshrinement speech.
"You know something? My speech, I've given up on it. I'm not the type of guy to write something down and read it," he said. "There's something about it that feels impersonal to me and so after all these different experiences that I've had today, it's totally blown away what I was thinking about. So I'm just going to get up there and let my heart pour out about how I feel."
Oh what a heart it is. I flew back to Syracuse Saturday afternoon, so I could cover the Green & White Scrimmage and I didn't get to see his speech live. Before I watched the archive today, I was expected to be moved and I was not disappointed. His personal fortitude and his love for his Mother are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
But this was also a new Curtis, a man who completely embraced football for the first time over the weekend.
"It feels like today — this very day — I officially became a fan," he told me Friday night.
After listening to Bills owner Ralph Wilson speak Friday morning and then speaking with other Hall inductees, Martin soaked everything in and called it a "paradigm shift" in the way he thought. He looked at the fellow members of the 2012 class — CB Jack Butler, C Dermontti Dawson, DE Chris Doleman, DT Cortez Kennedy & T Willie Roaf — and delivered a message to them.
"We're part of a special team, but we're like a team within that bigger team. And we're not going to have anyone drop the ball on our team," he said. "Our team is going to be here every year unless there is some death in the family or some circumstance that there's an emergency — every one of us has to be here every year."
Scrimmage ThoughtsThe Jets were off Sunday, but will resume practice Monday at SUNY Cortland. Click here for a few highlights on the Green & White Scrimmage… Santonio Holmes did have a rib X-ray Saturday night come back negative and No. 10 is listed as day-to-day… Let's not make too much out of the Jets' rushing totals and Mark Sanchez's three "sacks" last night since C Nick Mangold (across the pond watching his sister at the Olympics), RG Brandon Moore (in Canton at Curt's Enshrinement) and RT Wayne Hunter (back) all did not participate… Rex Ryan wasn't the only one impressed with the performance of Matt Simms. "Those were two excellent balls that came right where they're supposed to be, that were on time. I think he earned himself more reps," Bart Scott told me. "I know he got a lot of respect by a lot of players from those two throws at the end."… LB Demario Davis, a third round pick out of Arkansas State, donned pads for the second consecutive workout. The rookie had a sack but lamented a few mistakes. "It was just good to be out and be able to move around full speed, re-focusing the eyes and getting back into the swing of things and picking up the plays," he said. "There are a lot of things that I have to watch on film and correct, but that's why you play the game-- to just constantly get better."… Bilal Powell continued his strong camp showing with a TD reception after a Mark Sanchez scramble. "I sat down for a little bit and once I saw Mark scramble — we have scramble rules," he told me. "The first thing I thought about was getting open."
Our Final WordRemember our next "EA Q&A" will run Tuesday. The form is on the side of the page. Have a great night. We'll see you all tomorrow.