FOXBORO -- Curtis Martin hasn't been to Gillette Stadium since his playing days. Though a lot has changed since he officially retired in 2007, he said he's not surprised to see how successful the Patriots have been in that time because of the man at the top: Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Stopping by the press box before tonight's game against the San Francisco 49ers, Martin remembered fondly his days as a Patriot, especially the moments shared with Kraft early in his career.
"One of the first things I noticed when I got here was the type of leader and type of man that Mr. Kraft was," Martin said. "I can remember . . . him speaking to me, giving me words of advice. I could almost see and feel his competitiveness. I believe in the trickle down effect. I think that it was just a matter of time that it went from, one of the best owners in the league to one of the best coaching staffs, to one of the best quarterbacks in the league, to one of the best teams in the league. That's the trickle down effect."
Martin will be an honorary captain for tonight's game along with fellow Hall of Famers Andre Tippett and Mike Haynes to honor the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said he would've liked to finish his career as a Patriot but that it just "wasn't in the cards," and that he was happy that Kraft and the organization have found so much success in the last 11 years.
Martin became a member of the Jets in 1998 after being drafted by the Patriots and coach Bill Parcells in 1995. He made two Pro Bowls and was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year while with the Patriots. He finished his career with 14,101 yards rushing and five Pro Bowl appearances. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August.