Biblical verse nudged Curtis Martin toward 28

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At Pitt, running back Curtis Martin wore 29.  As a rookie at New England in 1995, 29 wasn’t available.  Eventually, he landed in 28.

Martin tells the story of how he settled on the number that eventually was retired for him by the Jets in an inteview to be aired during Wednesday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.

“They only had the number 39, which I thought was horrible, and then I finally got a chance to get number 26 and shortly after that when I took number 26 a guy got cut and his number was 28 and I was speaking to someone about what numbers, what options I had,” Martin said.  “And at the time I was speaking to a pastor and I told him what numbers were available between 26 and 28, and he said 28.

“He said because that is a really important Bible verse,” Martin explained.  “It’s Deuteronomy 28, and he said that it talks about the blessings for obedience and all that.  So I took the number and Deuteronomy 28 became my only ritual before every game.  I would read it and that’s the reason why I wore number 28.”

Martin, the fourth leading rusher in NFL history, expects to get knocked to No. 5 eventually to another man who wears 28.

“I think Adrian Peterson  is probably one of the most gifted running backs I have ever seen,” Martin said.  “There’s three guys that I put in their own league.  That’s Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson, as far as running backs go.  I don’t think that there’s anyone in the history of the NFL that has the talent and ability that those guys have. . . .   I think [Peterson is] one of the few running backs who has the potential of being number four, three, or whatever he chooses to do.  It all depends on how long he can last in the NFL because if he can last for 15 years like Emmit Smith then he’ll probably have about 22,000 yards or something like that.”

For the full Martin interview, tune in for Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.  We get rolling with a full hour at 5:30 p.m. ET.

22 responses to “Biblical verse nudged Curtis Martin toward 28

  1. Probably the best back to have that number. 29 would have been tough shoes to fill; Dickerson owns the record and will for a long, long time. Unless Lacy has some huge games this year.


  2. Too bad Barry Sanders didn’t have an offensive line to speak of during his career. Then again, without that offensive line, we wouldn’t have had those insane highlights.

  3. Brown, Sanders, and Walter Payton has to be in that group as well, imo.

    Dickerson, & OJ were close behind, and Sayers is in between.

    Peterson is in that 2nd tier, today.

  4. I was the asst strength coach at Pitt on Johnny Majors staff during 93 and 94 when Curtis was our running back. What a great kid. Not surprised that he has such a great career.

  5. AP better than Sweetness? Seriously? Walter Payton is at the top of the list.

  6. Brown, Sanders, Peterson, great backs. Postseason success, not really. Be nice to be individually great and have team success at the same time, like guarterbacks are judged. Oh well, can’t have both I guess.

  7. Curtis Martin was a very great player and he’s a great person, but I will be bold enough to suggest that he would have had the same career wearing #26 or #39 as he had wearing the #28 jersey.
    The superstition of holy numbers is total mumbo jumbo and I reject it as BS.

  8. No doubt Barry was great and probably the most fun to watch. Barry could’ve been the best, but he’s not. He’s a quitter. Just because you could’ve been the best doesn’t mean you are the best. Ill always respect guys like Walter Payton and Adrian Peterson more. After all, that’s what running the football is all about.

  9. Sanders is the greatest of all time. Amazing athlete and yet still remains very humble. Not many players in the nfl nowadays would simply hand the ball to the ref in celebration of a long touchdown run.

  10. Adrian Peterson certainly has what it takes to set all the running records and be considered the best RB of all time. But, you don’t have to accept my opinion. Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith, Eric Dickerson, etc., and now Curtis Martin, have all said as much.

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