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Martin stays steady during stressful week
Charly Martin has been here before.
Here? Preparing for a preseason finale, as well as what follows the next day – cutting the roster from 75 players to 53. This summer, however, he’s going through what everyone agrees is a stressful week with the Seahawks.
Martin is one of 11 wide receivers on the roster for Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field. But will he be among the wide-outs who survive the roster purge on Friday?
“This is a tough week,” Martin said. “I think anyone who doesn’t tell you that isn’t really speaking how they feel. But it all comes down to me just controlling what I can control. There’s only so much that I can control in this, and I’m going to focus on that and concentrate on that.”
Martin has more experience at this than most of the other players who are on the bubble. He was among the final cuts by the San Diego Chargers in 2009. He made the final cut with the Carolina Panthers in 2010, but didn’t last year – when he also spent a few weeks on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in December.
“Going on my fourth year, you learn a lot,” he said. “Your attitude changes and you learn how this business runs.”
In the biz, they call the situation Martin finds himself in the numbers game. Sidney Rice is recovered from having surgery on each of his shoulders and expected to be the starter at flanker. Doug Baldwin, last year’s leading receiver, is recovering from a hamstring injury and expected to be back in the lineup as the slot receiver for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. Coach Pete Carroll has raved about the progress of third-year receiver Golden Tate, and Wednesday referred to him as “a starter” – at split end.
That’s three players at a position where there’s room for more on the 53-man roster and possibly two on the eight-man practice squad. Veteran Braylon Edwards, who was signed in late July, is capable of providing the big target with big-play potential that was lost when Mike Williams was released last month. There’s also Ben Obomanu, who had a career-high 37 receptions last year in his sixth season with the team; Deon Butler, who is tied with Martin for the most receptions by a wide-out (four) in the preseason; Kris Durham, a 6-foot-6 target who spent most of last season on injured reserve; Ricardo Lockette, the fastest of the group; and the rookie free-agent duo of Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei.
“I really am excited about the position,” Carroll said. “I think the competition in camp was really keen. I think bringing in the new guys helped us, it helped activate everybody. I think everybody had to elevate and that was great for us.”
Martin was the first of the new guys to arrive, signing a future contract in January. Those players traditionally turn out to be camp bodies. But the untraditional has a way of happening with Carroll in control. Among those signing future contracts last year were cornerback Brandon Browner, who ended up playing in the Pro Bowl; and Paul McQuistan, who started 10 games at three spots on the offensive line.
Martin is doing his part to do everything he can with every opportunity that comes his way.
“Charly’s been really strong this camp,” Carroll said. “He’s done a very good job in all the areas we need him to. He’s tough. He does a nice job inside running routes and making catches with guys all over him. He’s a good blocker. He’s contributing on special teams; he’s a core guy on special teams.
“So those are really good attributes for a young receiver. He’s done a nice job and he’s making big plays, too.”
It was Martin who had the key block on Russell Wilson’s touchdown run in the opener against the Tennessee Titans, when he also caught two passes. It was Martin who caught an 11-yard TD pass from Wilson in last week’s blowout of the Chiefs in Kansas City.
“That was my goal coming into this season all along,” Martin said. “From the time I signed here back in January, I just wanted to control what I can control. I’m going to take care of myself and do what I do. Take advantage of the opportunities they give me and have fun.”
Does he feel he has done that? “I do,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done a great job.”
Signing with the Seahawks was a homecoming of sorts for Martin. He was born in Walla Walla, but moved to New Mexico in the fourth grade. He played at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington and considering going to Washington State, until coach Mike Price left for that short-lived job at Alabama.
That’s how Martin ended up at West Texas A&M. “I just wanted to play,” he said.
He not only played, he made plays. A lot of them. Martin caught 244 passes for 4,108 yards and 44 touchdowns – all school records. As a senior, he led all Division II receivers with 95 catches for 1,867 yards and 22 touchdowns.
“Had a great career down there,” he said. “Loved every minute of it.”
But in the NFL, he has one catch for six yards. That was then, this is now. And Martin isn’t looking back or too far ahead.
“It’s been a great time here,” he said. “I love this organization. Pete’s done a great job and we have a great team. It’s a great group of guys. And I feel like I’ve tried to take advantage of every opportunity they’ve given me.”
The next one for the sure-handed Martin will come Thursday night against the Raiders. What happens after that is out of his hands.