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Jets retiring jersey of Hall of Famer Martin

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm •  Published: September 9, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Curtis Martin was decked out in a Jets green tie and shoes, looking sharp as ever on another big day for the Hall of Fame running back.

The Jets retired his No. 28 jersey at halftime of New York's season-opening game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Martin, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month, joined three of the biggest names in franchise history — Joe Namath (No. 12), Don Maynard (13), who were both in attendance, and Joe Klecko (73) — as the only players to receive the prestigious honor.

Martin was also joined at midfield by former Jets teammates Ray Mickens, Victor Green and Fred Baxter.

"Words can't express it," a smiling Martin said before the game. "I almost feel just like the Hall of Fame. There's a part of this that's almost even bigger than the Hall of Fame because it's the hometown, the crowd I played in front of for all these years."

The whole idea had Martin pretty excited, something he said usually wouldn't happen for him until he ran out of the tunnel before a game.

"I never even thought I would come close to anything like this," Martin said, "so I'm just so excited, so humbled and so appreciative."

The 39-year-old Martin played his first three NFL seasons with New England before signing with New York in 1998. He is fourth on the NFL's career rushing list with 14,101 yards, but has always thought his reputation for being one of the classiest players in the game while he was playing was most important.

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