The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 77   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? around, when you stop the tape, you always see them right by the ball or on the ball.' That's what I wanted to do." Playing in the middle, in "the teeth of everything" and constantly dou- ble- and triple-teamed, added to the challenge. "I'll just kick three guys' butts and go make the tackle," he mused. "What's the point of complaining about it and being frustrated if that's the situation? "That's what life is. You get dealt a hand of cards, and you just plow through it and get it done. That's my DNA. That's my character." The night before the Gator Bowl in 2010, Martin knew change was coming. Rodriguez delivered a very different address to the team. "He gave the craziest pregame speech," Martin recalled. "It was not an uplifting speech at all. It was al- most a resignation speech. "He said, 'It's really been a pleasure coaching you. No matter what hap- pens tomorrow, I wish you guys luck.' That was how the speech ended, and literally, the room was silent. "We're sitting in Jacksonville, and our head coach is just pretty much saying adios, amigos. "We had to have [strength and con- ditioning coach] Mike Barwis say, 'Okay, we're not going to end it like that. Let's end it on a positive note.'" It ended, Brady Hoke arrived, and Martin found a measure of redemp- tion in his college career. Suddenly, former players like Glen Steele were showing up to speak at Schembechler Hall, urging the team on. "It was a total flip of the script when Brady came in," Martin said. The record soared in 2011, the Wol- verines going 11-2. They won the first night game at Michigan Stadium in the wild shootout against Notre Dame, knocked off Ohio State and beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Special moments cemented a bond in players like Martin, wide receiver Roy Roundtree, quarterback Denard Robinson and tight end Kevin Koger, just like Carr predicted. "The reason why these guys are my friends for life and always will be are these moments we went through together," Martin said. "Standing on the sideline and seeing 'Lace [Robin- son] make that throw to Roy to win the Notre Dame game, I'll never for- get it." Beating Ohio State, Martin assured, "was everything." "To win in Ann Arbor against the Buckeyes with all my guys and the students coming onto the field," he recalled. "That will forever be a memory. I'll go to the grave with it. "I've got all these pictures framed, in my house, of that special day." Michigan's 23-20 win on a last-sec- ond field goal over Virginia Tech en- capsulated his overall efforts, Martin insisted. "For all of us in that locker room, it felt really good," Martin. "It was never easy, but it pretty much told the story of my entire career, in those four quarters." Taken by the Tennessee Titans in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft after earning unanimous second- team All-Big Ten honors, Martin en- joyed a four-year NFL career, despite consistent coaching upheaval. Over an eight-year span, starting at Michi- gan, he played for seven defensive coordinators and six head coaches. A routine meniscus surgery ended his career. A surgeon removed too much of the natural knee padding, and Martin wound up with degen- erative, bone-on-bone issues. He won a lawsuit over it and never looked back. "I just kept pushing forward," ex- plained Martin. "I had a mindset of not being caught up in feeling sorry for myself. I could sit here and be sour and salty about the fact that the ability to play football was taken away from me — which it was." Instead, he supplemented the MBA he'd earned at the University of Mi- ami while playing pro football with certifications as a financial planner, his present occupation. "I'm not the type to roll the dice when it comes to being prepared," Martin said. "You study the game plan because you want to kick the opponent's butt. That's the same as it should be in life." ❏ Michigan Accomplishments: Recorded 172 tackles over the course of four seasons as a starter … Secured 10 sacks among 25 tackles for loss … Became a captain as a Michigan senior. Professional Accomplishments: Performed in 46 games for the NFL's Tennes- see Titans, securing 68 tackles … Has worked the past year as a financial advisor for Wealth Strategies Financial Group in Southfield, Mich. Michigan Memory: "The quote that everyone hears says: 'Those who stay will be champions.' What does that really mean? We all know Bo [Schembechler] said it, but what did he really mean by it? What it means is what my career was. It was a direct definition and reflection of it. "It was a mindset of just doing the work, getting better every day and know- ing you were going to get what you wanted to get. Stay committed. If you fight through that adversity, you're going to get what you want. "My senior year, I had this vision of the confetti that was falling in New Orleans. I'm just looking up. I've got my helmet sitting in my house, in a case. I still have the confetti in the facemask of that helmet. "To me, it doesn't represent a win in New Orleans, in my senior year. It repre- sents fighting when things get hard and never quitting. In life, if you quit, it gets easier every time. I never did. We never did in Ann Arbor." Education: Earned a general studies degree from Michigan in 2012 … Went on to complete an MBA at the University of Miami (Fla.) … Has completed Series 7 and Series 66 federal SEC licensing for financial planning. The Mike Martin File Martin won U-M's Richard Katcher Award as the team's top defensive lineman each of his last three years on campus, and now he is a financial advisor in Southfield, Mich. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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