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A Shining Knight no more
Gary Smith
September 12, 1983
In days of old he was Beautiful Harvey Martin of the Dallas Cowboys, but now the party's over.
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September 12, 1983

A Shining Knight No More

In days of old he was Beautiful Harvey Martin of the Dallas Cowboys, but now the party's over.

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The coaches buried Martin in the depth chart at defensive tackle and waited. He hated football and wanted to quit every day, but something would not let him. "I must have had things inside me I don't know about," he says.

"We beat one team 77-7," says Jett. "He might have got in that game."

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One day Harvey's sister saw him running punishment laps after practice. When he finished, he came over to the car they drove to and from school and slammed the steering wheel. "They said I didn't hit the blocking sled hard enough," he snapped. "Heck, I didn't wanna hit it. It hit me back!"

Jett figured Martin would not continue in football his senior year. The line coach took one last longing look up Martin's six feet and five inches and rolled a final grenade under the boy. "If you don't beat out Phillip Bangs for the starting job next year," said Jett, referring to a strapping Golden Gloves boxing champ a grade behind Martin, "I'll be the laughingstock of the coaching staff."

Harvey, as usual, just frowned and said nothing. He had never heard the whisper of the challenge from within, but he was an all-day sucker for the challenge from outside.

"I began to play a role," he says. "I became a football player."

By the third game of his senior year Martin was a starter. By the end of the season he was the best lineman on a 12-1 team. Still, he was so skinny and so late-blooming that no college waited on his signature. Jett called Boley Crawford, the offensive line coach at East Texas State in Commerce, and convinced him that he should offer Martin a scholarship.

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At Commerce, a very small and very dry town about 60 miles northeast of Dallas, the sheltering of Harvey Martin continued. When he lived at home in the summers, through his last year of college, he still honored his mother's 1 a.m. curfew. He didn't enter a nightclub until his rookie year in the NFL. His first two college seasons were undistinguished. "Harvey," remembers Dwight White, the ex-Pittsburgh Steeler defensive end who roomed with him, "was a thousand percent different than now. He was a big Baby Huey. He was so gentle, small guys used him as an ego-builder. Take his name, even—Harvey is not exactly a thundering name. Guys would push him around, and he felt so bad about himself it was easy to embarrass him. Everybody borrowed money off him. He was more or less a chump."

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