Charles Martin (American football)

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Charles Martin
No. 94
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born:August 31, 1959
Canton, Georgia
Died:January 26, 2005(2005-01-26) (aged 45)
Houston, Texas
Career information
High school:Cherokee High School, Canton, Georgia
College:Western Carolina
West Alabama
Career history
Career highlights and awards

Charles Martin (August 31, 1959 – January 26, 2005) was a professional American football player, who is best known for his career with the Green Bay Packers, and in particular for causing a season-ending injury to Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jim McMahon on November 23, 1986. Martin also played for the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL, the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, and the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.

Early career[edit]

Martin attended Cherokee High School in Canton, Georgia and was nicknamed "Too Mean" for his tendency to pile on ball carriers after the whistle.[1] He originally dropped out of school at age 14 but then rejoined to play football.[2] He originally signed to play college football at Western Carolina, but followed assistant coach Joe D'Alessandris to Livingston University.[2] He then went on to play at The University of West Alabama (then known as Livingston), and was a Division II All-American.[1] Martin was All-Gulf South Conference two years at Livingston, and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1982.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Birmingham Stallions[edit]

Martin began his pro football career with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in 1983, but was cut after his first season.[2]

Edmonton Eskimos[edit]

Martin was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in early 1984 but was cut before he could make it through a season.[2]

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Martin immediately jumped into a starting role once he was signed by the Green Bay Packers.[4] He signed with the Packers after he was not selected in the Supplemental Draft.[5]

1986 McMahon incident[edit]

During pre-game warm-ups, Martin displayed a white hand-towel with a list of five Bears offensive players' numbers: 9 for Jim McMahon, 34 for Walter Payton, 83 for Willie Gault, 63 for Jay Hilgenberg and 29 for Dennis Gentry.[6] Martin wore the towel during the game. He allegedly claimed that it was a hit-list.[7] After Bears quarterback Jim McMahon threw an interception, Martin grabbed him from behind and body-slammed him shoulder first to the ground. Replays showed that Martin hit McMahon at least two seconds after the pass was thrown, well after McMahon was out of the play. McMahon landed full force on his previously injured shoulder,[8] a situation exacerbated by Soldier Field's artificial turf surface of the time—and was knocked out for the rest of the season. Martin was ejected from the game by referee Jerry Markbreit and suspended for two games.[8] Markbreit later said that he jokingly told Martin that he would let the Bears come after him if he didn't leave the field. The ejection set a precedent that any violent act that is not considered part of the game is grounds for ejection.[9] After the game, the Packers defensive coordinator defended Martin, saying "We tell people that if we intercept a pass, go get anybody near you."[10] This was the first multi-game suspension for an on-field incident in modern NFL history, and would remain the longest suspension for an on-field incident until Albert Haynesworth of the Tennessee Titans was suspended five games for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode in 2006.[11]

Martin played for the Packers from 19841987. He was cut early in the 1987 season after being implicated in a Green Bay bar fight.[2]

Houston Oilers[edit]

Martin played for the Oilers in the latter part of the 1987 season.[12] In a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Martin speared Steelers running back Earnest Jackson, sparking a rivalry between Oilers coach Jerry Glanville and Steelers coach Chuck Noll.[13]

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

He closed out his career with the Falcons in 1988, the only season in which he did not start a game.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Martin was suspended two games in 1986 due to an incident at a bar. He later went into alcohol abuse treatment, and divorced both of his wives. He was arrested for disorderly conduct in 1987 for throwing an egg at the car of an NFL replacement player.[2] Martin died in 2005 at age 45 in Houston due to complications from kidney failure.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "To Bears fans, Charles Martin will always be recalled for the body slam that ended Jim McMahon's season in 1986. But there was more to the man they buried Monday". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Poling, Jerry (2006). After They Were Packers: The Super Bowl XXXI Champs & Other Green Bay Legends. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 9781931599726.
  3. ^ "University of West Alabama". Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  4. ^ "1985 Bears Coverage: USFL demise hurts Bears". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  5. ^ Maxymuk, John (2003). Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players who Wore Them. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 9781879483903.
  6. ^ "Thirty years ago, Bears-Packers featured the dirtiest hit in NFL history". FOX Sports. 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  7. ^ "Charles Martin dead at 46". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  8. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael (November 26, 1986). "Martin Of Packers Suspended". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "The infamous hit from the ref's perspective". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  10. ^ Reischel, Rob (2010). 100 Things Packers Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-60078-398-2.
  11. ^ "Haynesworth penalty comes in: Five games". 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  12. ^ "Former Packer Defensive End Charles Martin passes away". IGN Boards. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ WOLF, BOB (1989-09-16). "Oilers Try to Make It a Mobile House of Pain". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  14. ^ "Charles Martin Stats |". Retrieved 2017-12-20.

External links[edit]