Many NFL players who don't make a 53-man roster after summer cut-downs solely continue their training until another opportunity arises. Jets plackicker Ross Martin not only maintained his football regiment last September, but he also lined up a job at IBM for his life after football.
"Throughout my senior year, my first and foremost passion was to make it to the NFL, but I also wanted to have a contingency plan," said Martin, who majored in psychology with a minor in marketing management at Duke. "I did a couple interviews with a couple different firms and ended up getting the offer from IBM with a start date in October last year. I went the whole course with the Jets through the preseason and everything. I got cut and started working for IBM in October of last year all the way up through April."
An undrafted player, Martin connected on four of six field goals last preseason. He nailed a 55-yarder against the Giants before entering the workforce.
"It was a six-month training program, which worked out exceptionally well for the timing," he said. "It was a rotational program where you learn a lot of the different industries and products that IBM has to offer. Then I came back to the Jets. It worked out really well where I could complete that whole training program and move back here."
For those six months, Martin lived on 34th Street and Second Avenue, commuting to work in the concrete jungle. The 23-year-old bounced around different departments within IBM's sales division and found a niche in financial security and services.
"Financial because it's New York City," Martin explained. "Almost everyone in the top banks in the world is based right there. Also, it's such a growing field and it's nothing that's going to go away any time soon. As everything gets more digitalized, more responsibilities are on the digital infrastructures of these banks. It's never going to go away. There will always be people trying to hack into those and access those funds. It's definitely something that's a growing little niche within the tech community."
The 5'9", 183-pounder signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets on Jan. 4 and with a report day of April 17 for the beginning of offseason workouts, all the chips fell fortuitously for Martin. Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said "it's a wide open kicking competition" as Martin will compete with Chandler Catanzaro this summer.
"I had some great managers while working there," he said of IBM. "It was their hometown team, which made it a very easy transition. Also, they said we'll see you in 10 years or whenever it is, and they'll welcome me back."