The New York Jets retired former running back Curtis Martin's number in 2012, but the story behind how he ended up wearing "28" on his jersey in the first place isn't widely known. As it turns out, a pastor's advice -- and Old Testament scripture -- led him to adopt the two digits.
Pro football Hall of Fame member Curtis Martin attends the 2014 Father Of The Year Awards at New York Hilton on June 4, 2014 in New York City. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
At the start of his college football career, Martin, 41, told NBC Sports that he was given the number 29, but that it wasn't available when he became a rookie for the New England Patriots in 1995.
While he wasn't too happy about changing, he ended up with the number 39 and later the number 26.
But when a fellow teammate was suddenly cut, Martin had the option to adopt the number 28, though he decided to get some consultation before he acted.
"I was speaking to someone about what numbers, what options I had and at the time I was speaking to a pastor and I told him what numbers were available between 26 and 28, and he said 28," Martin told NBCSN's "Pro Football Talk." "He said because that is a really important Bible verse. It’s Deuteronomy 28, and he said that it talks about the blessings for obedience and all that."
After hearing the pastor's recommendation, the former football great decided to adopt the number along with a special ritual: before every game, Martin would read Deuteronomy 28 in preparation.
"That’s the reason why I wore number 28," he proclaimed.
The Old Testament chapter focuses on abiding by God's will and receiving blessings for personal faithfulness.
The first verse reads: "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth." It goes on to list blessings.
Martin, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who is the fourth leading rusher in NFL history, retired from the New York Jets in 2005.
(H/T: Christian Post)