The shove, once
more, came from outside. White got drafted after Martin's sophomore season and
came back to campus flashing seven $100 bills. Martin's eyes widened. "He
got a glimpse of paradise," says White. "Money is a remarkable
His senior year,
Martin became an NAIA All-America defensive end; he started practicing his
autograph. In the spring of 1973 he was drafted in the third round by the
Cowboys. "Can't believe it," he kept saying to himself.
"Dallas!" He felt warm inside, and safe.
There were two
places where Harvey Martin discovered he loved playing the role of a football
player. The first was on the Texas Stadium field during his rookie year.
Jogging into a game as a pass-rushing specialist, he heard applause. He looked
around to make sure. Yes, they were cheering for him! "I thought, 'Wow,
ain't that somethin'!' " he says.
The second was
outside a movie theater, where he was waiting in a long line to see Young
Frankenstein. The theater manager approached him and asked, "Are you Harvey
Martin?" Martin nodded and suddenly found himself being whisked past
everyone else into the theater. "I said, 'Daayaam. This is worth being
Harvey would flip
through the morning papers each Monday, hoping they had published his picture.
When they finally did, he framed it.
He had paid a
steep price for the rewards. His first few years in the pros, Cowboy Defensive
Line Coach Ernie Stautner often stared at Martin in disgust. "When things
got tough he'd look over at me for a way out," Stautner recalls. "I
told him he had to stop trying to avoid every bump and bruise. I told him he
had to get mean."
The little boy
who had watched while his younger sister fought for him bit his bottom lip and
nodded. If that was the kind of person it took for them to like you so you
could like you, by God, Harvey Martin would be it!
One day in 1976 a
Cowboy rookie offensive tackle, Greg McGuire, declared that Martin was not all
that strong. The next day, the first time he faced McGuire in drills, Martin
blasted out of his three-point stance. The heel of his hand cracked against the
side of McGuire's helmet like a pistol shot. Eight minutes later the rookie
On nights before
road games, Martin's hotel roommate. Wide Receiver Drew Pearson, would watch
Saturday Night Live while Martin would project game films of his opponent on
the wall, slam the table and talk himself into the role. His physique became
hard. His nickname became Too Mean. But his radio show became The Beautiful
Harvey Martin Show. Beautiful!