By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Today's Q & A Session is with former running back Sammy Martin. Martin play at LSU under Bill Arnsparger from 1984-1987. He was only 5'11" 175lbs, but Martin always played much bigger then that. His blazing speed, agility, vision, and a heart the size of a Tiger attributed to him making big play after big play. Martin shared time in the backfield with several other great LSU backs like Dalton Hilliard, Gary James, Harvey Williams, Eddie Fuller and has always been a fan favorite in the hearts of the LSU faithful.
He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 4th round of the 1988 NFL Draft. There, he converted to wide receiver and played special teams. Martin ended up also playing for the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints during his five year professional career.
Martin grew up in Gretna, Louisiana and played his high school football at De La Salle High
School in New Orleans.
Q - What is your favorite TV Show?
Sammy - Jeopardy, I watch it religiously.
Q - What is your favorite Food?
Sammy - Anything my girlfriend cooks. She cooks good man. But I'd say grilled chicken and a salad.
Q - Who is your favorite Pro Athlete?
Sammy - I would have to say Muhammad Ali. I met him when I was young, around 12 years old before he had a fight in New Orleans.
Q - Who is your favorite sports team that you follow?
Sammy - I really don't watch much sports. I'd have to say LSU Athletics. I don't watch any professional sports.
Q - What is your favorite Movie?
Sammy - That one is tough. I'm an old movie buff. .... I say.. Jeremiah Johnson
Q - Who is your favorite Actor?
Sammy - Clint Eastwood.
Q - Who is your favorite Music Artist/Group?
Sammy - That's the toughest of all the questions..... The Traveling Wilburys... They were an English–American supergroup put together by Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
Q - I see you were born in Gretna, Louisiana. Did you pretty much grow up there?
Sammy - Yes.. I lived there until I left to go to LSU.
Q - When you were a little boy, what did you want to grow up to be?
Sammy - I wanted to be OJ Simpson.. A pro football player..
Q - Did you play multiple sports at De La Salle?
Sammy - Yes, I ran track and played football
Q - Is there any personal and/or team accomplishments in high school you would like to tell us about?
Sammy - I had some records. I'm sure some of the young men who have come through the school since me may have broken them. De La Salle was a good school for me. We didn't win a lot of acculades, but we worked hard, played hard, and enjoyed playing together. I love the school and I got a really good education there.
Q - Can you tell us a little about your recruiting process?
Sammy - I had some SEC schools interested. I took a visit to Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but it was mostly just a bunch of small schools.
Q - What made you choose LSU over aal of the other offers you had?
Sammy - It had a lot to do with Pete Jenkins and meeting Bill Arnsparger. Bill was just so genuine. I talked to other head coaches and they all were waiting for other recruits to sign before they would tell me what position I was going to play for them. Bill was a little more easy to go. He told me that if I came to LSU that I would play in games next season. I liked Bill Arnsparger and Coach Jenkins.
Q - Could you tell us about some of your favorite moments or certain games that stand out
in your mind from your LSU career?
Sammy - One is our game against Alabama during my sophomore season. We had the Dalton-James gang who were the stallions and at some point during the game Bill looks down the sideline where I'm standing and he tells me, "Sammy, get in there." ... and the other coaches are like, "What??" ... So he runs me into the game and I ended up playing pretty well. I helped give the offense a spark.
Another, was a close one with Ole Miss in I think 1986, when they missed a last second field goal and we won 21-19. I'm trying to remember, they all run together.
There were several good, close games. Another was when we played at Notre Dame. It was so cold and it's the first time I ever wore pantyhose. We put them on to help us fight the cold. That was a big win in South Bend. We won a couple of big ones at Florida and at Georgia during my junior year. I believe I was player of the game in both of those. They were all fun.
Q - Tell us about your NFL Career?
Sammy - I was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 4th round. Made the conversion to wide receiver and punt returner, and played for five seasons. It's a big step. It goes from fun to business in a heartbeat. Well, it's still fun because playing football is something that you grew up with and you love the game. That's why you're there. But your not going to make it unless you have the love for the game. But it just becomes a business.
When I ended up with the Patriots, the owner was bankrupt. He didn't have enough of the Collectors Bargaining Agreement. My signing bonus was late. I was still happy to be there. They had gone to the Super Bowl two years earlier.
Raymond Berry was my head coach. He was a good man. Steve Grogan was the quarterback. I met a lot of very influential people. Doug Flutie and I were roommates. It was a good time. I met some very good people along the way. Everyone helped out and everyone was very friendly. New England was a good club back then, they just had a few financial problems at the time.
New England released me in 1991. At the time if anyone gets released, the team with the worse record in the League has first rights. So I ended up going to Indianapolis. To make a long story short, I played for back-to-back 1-15 teams. That would make a good Jeopardy question one day... It was fun. I met some good people there also. Jeff George, Eric Dickerson, Clarence Verdin, Reggie Dupard was there.
From there I ended up signing a free agent contract with the Saints. I met Jim Mora one night for a little get together and negotiated a contract. I had a good preseason, even though I was hurt. My last play ever in football. It was preseason on Monday Night Football and I scored the winning touchdown against the Chicago Bears with like 8 seconds left. I continued to try to keep playing hurt but they put me on Injured Reserve and they ended up releasing me. No one picked me up after that. Then a couple of months later I was playing basketball in Slidell and tore my ACL. That basically ended my career.
Q - So what did you do after your football career ended and how are things going for you today?
Sammy - When I first got out of football, I sold cars for awhile and that didn't work out. Then a friend of mine from LSU who is a big time architect now. But we got together and started up a landscape company. After awhile, I went out on my own and ended up opening a nursery.
After Hurricane Katrina I became a safety coordinator for Chevron's aircraft operations for five years. I later tried to sell cars again, and once again didn't work out for me. My heart was really with landscaping,so now I'm back doing that again. I love anything to do with landscaping. I do it all.
Q - Do you keep in touch with any of your old LSU teammates?
Sammy - Yes. Keep in touch with some of them on Facebook. Every once in awhile someone will be in town and they will stop in to visit.
Q - Is there anything you want to tell the LSU fans?
Sammy - Want me to use my Coach O voice? "GEAUX TIGERS!!! GEAUX TIGERS!!! ONE HEARTBEAT, ONE TEAM BABY!!" .. I do a pretty good impression..... Man, I love the Tiger fans and the Tiger Nation. Nothing like it in the world that's what I like to tell.