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Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Morning Roar: Sam Martin on a new option

By Michael Rothstein

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- When Sam Martin entered the NFL last spring as a fifth-round draft pick, there was a good chance he would start for the Detroit Lions. There was a good chance, if the Lions knew what they were doing, that he would be a smart long-term investment for them as well and that he could have a good career.

What wasn't as apparent was a path to enshrinement, because no one at his position had ever done it before. Now, the second-year punter can dream, because he has a path to theoretically follow if he were to have an exceptional career. Ray Guy was the first punter ever inducted into the Hall of Fame last weekend and it opened up a previously closed door to every young punter in the league.

"It's awesome," Martin said. "I think he's definitely paving the way. I think he just revolutionized the position. He's considered the first one to really hit five-second punts, and he consistently would bang them. Back then, what he was doing was huge.

"He kind of revolutionized the punter, put more importance on the punter and what the position could be."

Martin knows thinking about the Hall of Fame after just one season is futile. He had a good rookie season, averaging 41 yards net per punt, and if he were to even think about the Hall of Fame, he probably would need a career that lasts another 15 years or so. But now that Guy is in the Hall, there is more of an opportunity. If Martin has the career he's hoping to, it's possible there could be more punters in the Hall of Fame by the time he would be part of the conversation.

Because now there is reason for hope.

"Obviously it's not something I think about, but sure, but not only myself," Martin said. "There's a handful of really good punters in the NFL, not even talking about myself. There's a lot of really good guys who one day will be in it, and there are plenty who, for sure, should be in it.

"I think by him finally getting inducted, it's not going to be as much of a discrepancy going forward as if a punter desires to or not. It'll prove that he is the reason why other punters will be selected."

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