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Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Jets running back Martin to announce retirement this week

ESPN.com news services

Jets running back Curtis Martin, the fourth leading rusher in NFL history who hasn't played since the 2005 season, will make it official this week and announce his retirement from the NFL.

NFL all-time leading rushers

Curtis Martin finishes his career in some elite company, among the who's who at the running back position:

Player Yards
Emmitt Smith 18,355
Walter Payton 16,726
Barry Sanders 15,269
Curtis Martin 14,101
Jerome Bettis 13,662
Eric Dickerson 13,259
Tony Dorsett 12,739
Jim Brown 12,312
Marshall Faulk 12,279
Marcus Allen 12,243

The news that an announcement is imminent was first reported by The New York Post.

The Jets open training camp Friday and are expected to hold a news conference before camp begins to announce the running back's retirement.

Last month, Martin re-worked his contract for a second straight year to provide the team more salary cap room.

Martin tore cartilage in his right knee in Week 2 of the 2005 season against Miami, and aggravated it two games later against Baltimore. He played through the pain, but ended his season after the Jets' 12th game.

The five-time Pro Bowler said the knee became a "bone-on-bone" situation when the damaged cartilage was surgically removed in December 2005. He was slow to recover and was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list before training camp so he could rehabilitate the knee and did not play last season.

Martin spent his first three seasons with New England, and came to the Jets as a restricted free agent in 1998. His best year was his last healthy season in 2004, when he led the league in rushing with 1,697 yards and tied Barry Sanders' record of 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons to start a career.

Martin, 34, has carried 3,518 times for 14,101 yards and 70 touchdowns in 168 games. Only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Sanders have compiled more rushing yards.

After using three different starters at tailback in 2006, and finishing 20th in the league in rushing offense, the Jets acquired Thomas Jones in a trade with the Chicago Bears this spring, and he is the projected starter.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.