Curtis Martin of the Jets, the fourth leading rusher in the history of the NFL, four linemen-Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf and Dermontti Dawson-and senior selectee Jack Butler were voted into the NFL Hall of Fame as media from the country looked on at the JW Marriott Hotel in Indianapolis.

The selection was announced on Saturday, Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl. Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter and Bill Parcells were among the finalists who did not make it this year.

Martin grew up in Pittsburg, where his mother worked two jobs to provide for him and his grandmother babysat him while his mother worked. Unfortunately, he and his mother found his beloved grandmother murdered in her home. Martin played for 11 seasons, two with the New England Patriots. He didn’t always like the game of football but used it as a tool to escape the neighborhood where his grandmother was murdered and as a way to stay out of jail.

“When I get awarded something like the Hall of Fame, it’s almost foreign to me,” said Martin. “This wasn’t something I planned on doing. Football is something I did so I didn’t end up jailed or dead.

“If you make up your mind to just do the right thing no matter what…and you stick to it, which I did, this is how things can turn around. I feel as if my life turned around from what it used to be, and I think anyone has a chance.”

Martin, demonstrating consistency and durability, rushed for a total of 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns. He rushed approximately 1,000 yards in all of his first 10 seasons, the first three with the New England and the rest with the New York Jets. He was the 1995 Offensive Rookie of the Year and won the NFL rushing title in 2004 with 1,697 yards.

“I’m not even close to this position,” said Martin. “I actually don’t think I would have played more than four or five years without Bill Parcells.”

Martin will have his former coach present him for induction on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio. He said that he was thankful for his award but was disappointed that his former coach and mentor was not selected this year.