LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 3, 2005
BEING BORN without
legs couldn't keep Bobby Martin, who stands three feet tall and weighs 110
pounds, from playing noseguard for Colonel White High in Dayton. The only thing
that could sideline him was a ref's ruling. Midway through a game in 2005, his
senior season, officials told Martin that he had to leave the field because he
wasn't wearing shoes, which was a violation of the uniform code. "How can I
wear shoes if I don't have feet?" Martin said.
It was a good
question, and Martin was allowed to return to the field the following week.
Propelling himself with his arms, he finished the season with 48 tackles. At
halftime of one game Martin swapped his 99 jersey for a sport coat and was
honored as Colonel White's homecoming king.
Martin is now
studying marketing—but not playing football—at Central State, just outside
Dayton. Last month Browns coach Romeo Crennel invited him to a practice. After
watching punt returner Dennis Northcutt shake defender after defender, Martin
approached him and said, "I bet you can't shake me." With a little
goading from wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who bet $100 on Martin, Northcutt
accepted the challenge. Martin hung with Northcutt for 20 yards, finally
forcing him out-of-bounds at the one-yard line. "Man, you're fast,"
Northcutt told him. "I thought I was going to leave you at the 20."