Curtis Martin will find out Saturday if he will earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. That is when the selection committee will vote on which of this year's 15 finalists will gain entrance to the Hall of Fame. Martin, the former New York Jets running back, is surprised at how excited he is about the possibility of being voted in.
"This is, to me, something that has affected me totally different than other individual accomplishments. I don't necessarily see this as an individual accomplishment. It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of other people to get to this point," Martin said. "One thing I will say, is that with the Hall of Fame, I didn't know that I would care about it as much or I didn't know how I would feel about it, but it's something that I'm more excited than I have been about any other kind of individual accomplishment. I'm excited about it. For me, just to be mentioned in the last 15, there's only a few guys who are in this elite group of people. I think it speaks to a career of commitment and dedication beyond the average, so it's something that I'm really excited about."
Martin is fourth on the NFL's all-time rushing list behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. He finished his 11-year career with 14,101 yards rushing.
"It just humbles me that today, I'm in somewhat the same class or even right behind an Emmitt Smith, who I think is great, a Walter Payton, who I think is great (and) a Barry Sanders, who I think is great. Just to be affiliated and mentioned with those types, it's kind of mind-boggling," Martin said.
The 15 finalists also include running backs Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk, lineman Willie Roaf, wide receivers Tim Brown and Cris Carter, cornerback Deion Sanders and tight end Shannon Sharpe. See the full list of nominees. Martin knows there is no guarantee he will be voted in.
"I'm totally prepared for that. I'm the type of guy that takes things as they come. For me, it's been an honor. I don't say this modestly or anything, but it's been such an honor for me to accomplish what I accomplished in the NFL. Nothing will take that away from me or that joy of being able to play the years I have and accomplish what I have. Nothing will take that away," Martin said. "If I get in, I'll be elated. If I don't, I don't think there's anything wrong with the voting system or anything. It's just the way it happens. You just take it as it comes. The Hall of Fame is special. If it doesn't happen for me this year, hopefully (it will happen) some other year."