During my rookie year, I ran into Martellus at the combine. Sharing the same last name we tried to connect the dots and see if we were related. He is from Houston and I had family who lived there, but we were not able to successfully connect the dots. Nevertheless, we stayed in close contact and would chat throughout the season. When he signed with the Bears in the offseason of 2013, I knew we were getting a solid no nonsense, player who never backed down.
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Martellus immediately gelled with the team. His personality and wit made him one of the more popular guys in the locker room. Whether it was playing his new single, upcoming artistic project or talking about his family there was always joy being around him. Martellus is the type of guy who you rarely see angry, unless something personal or serious happens. He is not the one to go looking for trouble, but if you initiate it, then good luck.
Early mornings consisted of hot tub and bible reading. Martellus, Brandon Marshall and myself were always among the few in the pool area. We would read and chat amongst ourselves. On one particular day a conversation between Marshall and Martellus would give me insight that the one thing you should not do is poke this Bear. Marshall and Martellus began to argue over who knows what and all I hear is Marshall stating how many pro bowls he had been to and the multitude of accolades he has accomplished. Typically, guys would concede because he was Brandon Marshall, and his accolades would get them kicked off the team if they fought him, but not Martellus. Martellus listened to all of Marshall’s accolades and proceeded with “Yea pro bowlers can get their ass whooped too.” This was the first person who I heard in the facility challenge Marshall. Martellus was not backing down from Marshall and I think it even surprised Marshall. The argument would end with both guys leaving the pool area still continuing the back and forth bickering. I was just fortunate I did not have to break up a fight between two behemoths being the little guy in the area.
Some players are naturally tough. Whether it comes from their upbringing or just having the mindset to protect themselves. This was evident with Martellus. You could see it in his eyes that he was not joking and that by any means necessary he would fight Marshall in a heartbeat and still be his friend afterward. The kind of fight with your older brother where you kick his butt and then two days later you all are playing the video games laughing and joking. Martellus has no quit in him. There is no backing down. Even if the person standing in front of him is a pro bowler and all pro. He better be an all pro in fighting or he will have a rough fight against Martellus.
Nostalgia is good for the soul. We reminisced on the home visit in 2004. You took a chance on a kid many thought should have played DB. You changed the culture. You helped build men. You have my gratitude forever. Thank you for taking a chance on the kid from West End, Coach.