Former New York Jets star running back Curtis Martin was a model of consistency throughout his career.
Those were much simpler times for the Jets, and they needed Martin in the backfield. Wearing his famous No. 28 and barreling through defenders, Martin helped Chad Pennington and the Jets remain in the playoff hunt each year.
Those glory days, times which culminated in Martin reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame, came after Martin consulted a pastor about a career-changing decision.
Curtis Martin wore No. 28 through his Hall of Fame career
Jersey numbers have been iconic in sports since Babe Ruth first donned No. 3 for the New York Yankees nearly a century ago.
For football fans in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Curtis Martin defined No. 28. A stellar running back for the New England Patriots and New York Jets, Martin wore his signature number each week during his Hall of Fame career.
Martin wore No. 28 in honor of his favorite Bible verse
During his time at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1990s, Curtis Martin wore No. 29.
The New England Patriots invested a third-round pick on Martin in the 1995 NFL draft. Originally, Martin wore No. 39, and he switched to No. 26 later in the preseason.
Before the regular season began, Martin had to decide between No. 28 and No. 28. In a 2016 interview with ProFootballTalk, Martin explained that a pastor helped him determine what number to wear.
It was the pastor who nudged Martin toward picking No. 28.
“He said because that is a really important Bible verse. 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.”
The pastor chose correctly, as Martin only wore No. 28 throughout his career and entered the Hall of Fame in 2012.
Curtis Martin is a devout Christian
Curtis Martin has spent his post-football life spreading love and sharing the good word.
Martin is a devout Christian, and he has never strayed away from speaking about his beliefs. During a 2020 appearance on A Bit of Optimism with Simon Sinek, Martin indirectly compared himself to Jesus Christ.
Martin recalled fighting through a shoulder injury throughout a game against the New York Giants. In speaking with Sinek, Martin compared his experiences dealing with pain to that of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Curtis Martin has clearly come a long way since going over numbers to wear with his pastor, that much is for sure.