Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Martin, five others get elected

INDIANAPOLIS — Curtis Martin has gone from the streets of Pittsburgh to the Hall of Fame.

The running back with the Patriots and Jets was one of six players elected Saturday to the shrine. Martin once disliked playing the game but used it to escape a neighborhood where his grandmother was murdered.

"When I get awarded something like the Hall of Fame, it's almost foreign to me," said Martin, the NFL's No. 4 career rusher. "This wasn't something I planned on doing. Football is something I did so I didn't end up jailed or dead."

Also elected were four linemen — Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf and Dermontti Dawson — and cornerback Jack Butler, a senior selection.

A panel of 44 media members voted them in from 17 finalists. Those not making it: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Ed DeBartolo Jr., Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Will Shields, Dick Stanfel and Aeneas Williams.

Chris Doleman had 1501/2 sacks over 15 seasons.

"I am totally blown away by this and humbled by it," Doleman said. "When they call your name, you're absolutely numb."

Kennedy was a force as a run-stopper and pass-rusher. The 1992 Defensive Player of the Year had 58 sacks, high for a tackle.

"I thought I was supposed to get a call," Kennedy said. "I didn't get a call. I had to watch it on TV. I am very excited right now."

Roaf spent one season at right tackle, then the rest of his career on the left side. He made the all-decade team for the 1990s.

"He possessed exceptional physical talent and a great work ethic," said Jim Mora, his coach with the Saints. "Without question, Willie was one of my best and favorite players ever."

Dawson made seven Pro Bowls as the Steelers center after replacing Hall of Famer Mike Webster.

"I knew I had big shoes to fill," he said. "I never would have thought I would be in this position after my career."

Butler also played for the Steelers, as a cornerback from 1951-59. He picked off 52 passes, second all time when he retired. But he was best known for his tackling.

"They told me I was good. I didn't know I was good," he said.

"I never, ever, ever thought I would be here."

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