“I feel like I owe Bill (Parcells) my career. If it wasn’t for that man, I don’t think my career would have went beyond five years.”
Five-time Pro-Bowler and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Curtis Martin, sat down with the JR Sport Brief to talk about his career with the New England Patriots and New York Jets. Martin explored various topics, from his league longevity to the man he credits for much of his NFL success.
For his part, legendary coach Bill Parcells is also enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He coached the New York Giants, Patriots, Jets and Dallas Cowboys during his career, winning two Super Bowl titles with the Giants. Parcells is now part of the Cleveland Browns’ front office, though his coaching legacy lives on through the current coaches he’s mentored, from Bill Belichick and Todd Bowles to Sean Payton and Mike Zimmer.
Parcells was head coach of the Patriots in 1995 when they drafted Martin in the third round. Martin played for Parcells for one year before the coach moved on to lead the Jets. Martin eventually followed him to New York, where Parcells served as both the head coach and the general manager.
In two short stints under his coach and mentor, the young Martin learned the value of hard work, especially in practice.
“I remember we went 15 days straight without a break and equipment every single day. We scrimmaged every single day, and I had one of my best years.”
Around the NFL, Parcells is considered as one of the greatest coaches and motivators. Martin felt that firsthand and carried those experiences with him as he matured into one of the NFL’s better running backs.
As Martin grew older, his career numbers improved — a sure sign strong preparation off the playing field. His best year in the NFL came at the age of 31, when arguably most running backs have passed their peak. He rushed for over 1600 yards and scored 12 times. There was only one common denominator at this point in his career: Bill Parcells.
“He (Parcells) encouraged me and almost forced to not take my foot off the gas. All I focused on was how to get better, how to get a little bit better. Every single year I would do something different in training just so football wouldn’t get old to me and I wouldn’t become complacent.”
In his entire NFL career, Martin only failed to rush for 1000 yards one time. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 — yet another career highlight — and Parcells was there to unveil his statue.