Sports News

Curtis Martin announces retirement

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Jets running back Curtis Martin, the NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher, announced his retirement on Thursday.

New York Jets running back Curtis Martin rips off a long gain against the Buffalo Bills during NFL action at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York October 16, 2005 file photo. Martin, the NFL's fourth all-time leading rusher, announced his retirement on Thursday. REUTERS/Gary Wiepert

“Retirement is not an end but a beginning,” Martin, 34, said in a statement. “It is not giving up a position but more of a passing of the baton.”

The Jets said they will honor Martin, who played 11 seasons in the National Football League, in a ceremony before the beginning of the regular season.

Martin retires with 14,101 rushing yards on 3,518 carries (third all-time), and 100 touchdowns, including 90 rushing scores. His 17,430 yards from scrimmage, which includes 3,329 receiving yards ranks seventh all-time.

Martin, who led the NFL with 1,697 yards rushing for the Jets in 2004, sat out last season due to injury.

Drafted in the third round of the 1995 draft by the New England Patriots, Martin joined the Jets as a restricted free agent in March 1998 at the cost of a first and third-round pick and spent eight seasons with New York.

Martin went on to record seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the Jets, retiring as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 10,302 yards.

He was selected to five Pro Bowls and chosen by Jets team mates as the team’s most valuable player four times.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum: “The ability to play at such a consistently high level every week he took the field will be the enduring football legacy of Curtis Martin.”

Bill Parcells, who coached Martin in New England and with the Jets, said: “He’s one of the most inspirational players I have ever seen. I always judge players by their ability to inspire others. I’ve seen Curtis Martin inspire numerous players and coaches and I was fortunate to be among those he inspired.

“He’s one of the greatest players I have ever coached.”