Page last updated on Thu Nov 26 11:00:09 EST 2015
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 10:32 AM EDT

Hall of Famer Curtis Martin never got booed in his own stadium, but he knows the mentality of N.Y Jets fans and he thinks they will not have much patience if Mark Sanchez struggles — not with Tim Tebow looming on the sideline.

“There’s no way around it, it is the big elephant in the room,” Martin expounded Monday of the potentially unpredictable QB situation. “It’s just a fact and the best man is going to win.

“If Mark isn’t having a good year, the crowd will be yelling for Tebow,” he continued. “If Tebow gets in there and does well, he’ll play.”

Martin had a meeting with a grouping of reporters to reflect on his journey to Canton, where he will be inducted August. 4. When the conversation got round to the present Jets, he grinned and said, “The QB scenario is definitely going to be intriguing.”

After the season, Martin was not shy about expressing his opinion, saying he wanted his old team to pursue Peyton Manning. That never came near to happening, but they traded for Tebow in March.

Martin counseled the move, saying, “If I were an owner, I would’ve made that deal all day…. It’s a great offer.”

This may sound like Martin isn’t much of a Sanchez fan, but the 4th-leading rusher in NFL history claimed he believes Sanchez might be the long term answer for the Jets.

“I think Mark is a fairly talented QB,” he said. “I think he has the ability to be the starting QB for a considerable time with the Jets. I believe he is a guy who hasn’t tapped into what he’s truly capable of.

“For his sake and for the team’s sake, I’m hoping it occurs this year. He’s already done well and there’s a lot more in him… I just think Mark can get job done. I think that’s why they gave him the new contract, time will tell.”

Martin, who described Tebow as “a good backup,” doesn’t expect a quarterback controversy — even if the fans start screaming for Tebow. The locker room, he anticipated, will not take sides.

“It’s not like gangs, the bloods and the crips,” he revealed, smiling.

Martin enjoyed quarterback equilibrium during his 7 seasons with the New York Jets, going from Vinny Testaverde to Chad Pennington. The only rough patch happened in 1999, when Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon in the 1st game and they did not have a good backup. There went the season.

That’s why, he announced, he liked the Tebow trade.

“It could save the season,” he said.

Martin also reminisced about his improbable path to the NFL. As a kid being raised in a tough section of Pittsburgh, he never dreamed about playing in the NFL. He never liked football, not even as a player. He played as he had bigger ideas.

“Football, to me, was like my essential training for life,” he said, adding, “At the day’s end, football saved my life. I don’t know where I’d be — I am not sure if I’d be alive — if I hadn’t played football.” Vegas odds

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