Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Langley Graduate Enjoying the Game Martin Finds a Home with Pittsburgh Power

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Langley Graduate Enjoying the Game Martin Finds a Home with Pittsburgh Power

Article excerpt

Top-rated linemen in minor league football are hard to find.

Players with a track record such as Pittsburgh Power left tackle Justin Martin are even tougher.

He only played one season of high school football, and that was on a winless 1991 Langley Mustangs squad. But somehow Martin was able to parlay that into three years playing on championship- caliber college football teams at Robert Morris, an impressive semipro career, and even a stint as a professional wrestler.

Martin's football career began late. At Carson Long Military School in the south central Pennsylvania town of New Bloomfield, where he went to junior high with an eye on joining the service after high school. The school didn't have a football program, so he threw the shot put.

By the time he was attending Canevin Catholic in the 10th grade, Martin says the Crusaders coaching staff gave him a quick look and passed, despite his 6-7, 210 pound frame. Then fate intervened.

"I gave a ride to a friend going to tryouts at Langley," he remembered. "The coach, David Mankey, took one look at me and said 'You're pretty big! Wanna try out?' "

Though the high point of the Mustangs' 0-8-1 season was a 12-12 tie against Carrick, a fire was lit. By the time Martin joined the Air Force and was stationed in Dayton, Ohio, he heard about a minor- league football team called the Dayton Steelers and decided to give it a try in 1993.

"The main thing I did was block nine kicks that first year," Martin remembered.

The Steelers, a member of the Mid Continental Football League, went 15-5-1 with Martin starting on the defensive line during the 1993 and ' 94.

It was at this point that Joe Walton contacted Martin about playing for the Colonials. Martin's weight had caught up to his height and he was tipping the scales close to the 340 pounds he now weighs.

By 1996 Martin was enrolled at RMU, studying management information sstems and playing football. He was moved to the offensive line but found himself mainly on special teams. When he found himself backing up current Philadelphia Eagles center Hank Fraley as a junior, he decided he'd had enough of the college game. …

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