Martin says he "couldn't have scripted" a better homecoming
Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin was all smiles Monday, as he continued to be the talk of the league following his historic performance Sunday in Oakland.
Martin, who set the Bucs single-game rushing record with 251 yards (tied for 10th all-time in the NFL), said it was extra special because he did it in front of 60-plus friends and family from his hometown.
"I couldn't have scriped a better one," Martin said. "It happened perfectly."
Martin, the first-round pick out of Boise State, said he's received tons of congratulatory calls and text messages, helping him realize what a big deal it was. Even the Raiders were heaping his praise - during the game.
"The defensive tackle, I'm not sure who it was, he gave me a lot of props," Martin said. "He said he doesn't talk to many running backs, but said that I was something special, so I took that to heart."
Martin, coming off winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month honors in October, is putting himself in the conversation for the overall NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race. ESPN analyst Merril Hoge says there's no question Martin should be considered with Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and Colts QB Andrew Luck.
"He's as a complete a back as I've seen," Hoge said of Martin. "There's not a down you have to take him out."
Teammates have been impressed with the poise and toughness Martin has showed as a rookie, which he said has come with the more experience he's had.
"It comes with being more comfortable with the offense," Martin said. "The game is slowing down for me, and just being more decisive in my decision making, which hole to hit and how fast I need to hit it. Overall, it's just clicking."
- JOE SMITH