Jets' Mangini denies report that Martin is finished

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The New York Jets insisted Curtis Martin
has not yet decided to end his season, despite a published report
Tuesday that the NFL's No. 4 career rusher has told members of the
team he won't return this year.

"There has been no decision," coach Eric Mangini said when
addressing the story in The Star-Ledger.

The newspaper, quoting anonymous teammates and a team official,
reported that Martin has already said he won't be able to play this
season because of a bone-on-bone condition in his right knee that
has sidelined him since late last year. The report also said Martin
is close to retiring.

"I don't really know who that would be or where that
information came from, so it's hard for me to make a determination
on it unless they sign their name to it," Mangini said.

Martin was unavailable for comment, and Eugene Parker, the
running back's agent, didn't immediately return a call to his
office from The Associated Press.

The 33-year-old Martin, who has rushed for 14,101 yards, was
eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list Oct. 16,
but the team announced he'd remain on it until after the game at
Cleveland last Sunday. On Monday, Mangini said he spoke with
Martin, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets' medical staff
last week and they chose to hold off until next week on making a
decision on whether Martin would rejoin the team and practice.

Mangini said there was no change in status on that issue

"What I'm going by is the conversations that I've had with
Curtis, and we talk quite regularly," he said. "He's talked with
me and Mike and talked to the doctors, so we're now basing this
decision on information and discussions that I've had specifically
with Curtis -- and that's what I go by."

Many of Martin's teammates were still holding out hope that
he'll return.

"Every time I ask him, he says he's doing well," linebacker
Jonathan Vilma said. "I hope that if and whenever he does come
back, he comes back and plays well."

If the players had any insight on the situation, they weren't
saying so publicly.

"To be honest, that's not a concern of mine," receiver
Laveranues Coles said. "What Curtis does is Curtis' business. All
I can do is worry about Laveranues."

Added guard Pete Kendall: "I'm not really in the loop in that
situation, so when I hear it from Curtis, then I'll know. Until
then, we'll wait and see what happens."

The Star-Ledger report also suggested Martin has slowed his
rehab and become increasingly less visible at team meetings. Not
so, said Mangini.

"Curtis has been here every single day except days where I've
told you about where I've personally excused him for something, and
those have been few and far between. And he's been a huge asset to
those guys," he said. "He's like everybody else. Every morning I
look out and every morning there's Curtis, second row from the end,
four or five seats in -- and he got his question right the other

According to NFL rules, a player on the PUP list can't be
cleared to practice until after Week 6. Then, a team has three
weeks to decide whether to allow that player to start practicing.
The deadline for the Jets is next Tuesday.

If Martin is cleared to practice, the team would have three
weeks from that date to either place him on the active roster or
put him on injured reserve and end his season.