Ex-Jets star Curtis Martin says NFL is ‘as safe as possible’

By on June 6, 2014
dnp; Exported.; Tony;Cataffo, Linda Jets great Curtis Martin jokes he’d still be playing if the NFL had implementing safety changes while he was playing in the league.

Curtis Martin wishes the NFL had implemented recent safety changes while he was rushing his way into the records books.

“I think I’d probably still be playing,” the ex-Jet and Hall of Fame running back joked when he checked in with CBS Sports Radio personality and ex-Giant Tiki Barber on Wednesday morning.

Martin, 41, exited the league nearly a decade ago – in 2005 – following a career-ending knee injury.

With concussions and lawsuits filed by ex-players dominating headlines recently, Martin said he holds no ill will towards the NFL.

“What they’ve done is they’ve made the game as safe as possible,” Martin said. “I wish that some of the changes that are in the game now were implemented when we were playing. I think I’d probably still be playing.”

Martin did comment that he likely pushed through injuries that he shouldn’t have – “I played with some things that when I look back I say I don’t know how I did that or even why I did that.”

As for concussions, he believes it’s just part of the game, an unavoidable side effect of a dangerous game.

“I think they’re trying to do everything, there’s not too much you can do unless you change the game of football, which I don’t think anyone wants to change,” the five-time Pro Bowler said.

Barber asked Martin if he had any long term effects from the multitude of concussions he suffered throughout his ten year pro career or if he had been checked out. Martin said that his wife, Carolina, made him get tested a while back and all was well.

Curtis Martin helps the league promote last year's Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey.Bryan Smith Curtis Martin helps the league promote last year’s Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey.

“After all the testing … (the doctor) said my brain had the health of a kid coming out of high school who never even played football,” Martin happily reported.

With his pro career over, Martin has focused on his family, including his two year old daughter, Ava and a new edition: his 3-month-old.

“Out of everything that I’ve done so far – Pro Bowls and all that, one of the hardest things is being a father,” he said. “My hands are pretty full right now but I’m enjoying it.”

Barber commented that while Martin was a natural at the game, it never seemed to define him, he was always looking towards his future.

“I think that what made my career, what made me play with the determination, with the heart, with all the injuries and pain – for me I always felt like I was playing for a bigger purpose than the game itself,” he said. “I approached football for what it was for me – it was literally a job. It wasn’t necessarily my dream but I always thought that it would the first step to fulfilling my dreams and football has been great for me.”

That bigger purpose, including his family is something he takes very seriously. Later this month, Martin will accept the Father of the Year Award at the 73rd annual luncheon alongside the likes of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring.

Martin commented that it was a tremendous honor to be among the notable bunch.

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