…And now for something sports-related at Columbia that’s just straight-up awesome: Josh Martin, who was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, sits down with Kansas rep Zachary Hendrickson to talk about being a free agent, a band nerd, and successful in general.
Bwog: First of all, congratulations! What did it feel like, being signed by an NFL team?
Martin: It was pretty crazy, man. Obviously, you put a lot of work in throughout your football career. I started playing in high school, continued here at Columbia, and I’ve seen how that work has accumulated into this one – I wouldn’t say final event – but big step in my football career and toward my life as a professional athlete.
Bwog: So you’re are an undrafted free agent, correct? …What does that mean?
Martin: An undrafted free agent is pretty much what it sounds like. I wasn’t drafted. In the draft they gather the rookies for the upcoming season to compete and try to make the teams. I wasn’t selected in that process. So, basically, the leftover guys become undrafted free agents, and I was lucky enough to get signed by a team.
Bwog: What made you choose the Chiefs?
Martin: When it came down to it, the Chiefs offered the best opportunity. They have a new coaching staff, and they have really talented guys at both Outside Linebacker positions (which is what I think they’ll have me playing as). We’ll see what happens! They showed me a lot of love throughout the whole process, especially leading up to the draft. Ultimately, I just felt more comfortable with the Chiefs.
Bwog: You mentioned a possible switch from Defensive Lineman to OLB. How comfortable would you feel transitioning to this new position under the Chief’s 3-4 defense?
Martin: Well, [Columbia] actually played a 3-4 my junior year, and I was an OLB for that. I dropped into Flat every now and then, but I was mainly a glorified Defensive End rushing the passers.
Bwog: What do you think about the chance to play under Andy Reid?
Martin: It’s awesome, man! You know, I got a phone call from Andy Reid shortly after the draft. He called me and said, “Hi, this is Andy Reid.” I was like, “Whoa! The Andy Reid. He’s the guy you see on the sidelines of all the NFL games and on Madden. With the kind of coach that he is and the type of reputation that he has, being able to play for him is awesome.
Bwog: Other than that, what have your interactions been like with the Chiefs’ staff and players so far?
Martin: Actually, I haven’t interacted with many of them since the draft. I’ve mainly been in touch with personnel guys getting me ready, getting me my flight itinerary, and getting me back in time to take a final. I’m sure that I’ll meet a lot of them though. I’ve spoken with my position coach and the defensive coordinator. Although I have met Mike Catapano from Princeton. They drafted him, and I met him at the Jets’ local day. He’s a cool guy!
Bwog: Who are some of the players that you’re most excited to work with?
Martin: I’m definitely excited to work with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. They’re pro bowlers and Outside Linebackers. I think it’s going to be an excellent opportunity to see what they’re all about, how they prepare themselves, and what they do to be successful.
Bwog: Have they given you any advice on what you need to do to make the roster?
Martin: No, that will come after I get evaluated as a football player. The one thing that people say about this whole draft process is that a lot of the tests don’t necessarily apply to football. There are a lot of measurable things. But straight-line speed for 40 yards isn’t necessarily applicable to a Defensive Lineman who might only run 10 yards in any given play. I think that once they see me on the field as a football player, then they’ll really be able to evaluate me and give suggestions.
Bwog: What do you think is going to be your biggest transition as you move from college ball to pro ball?
Martin: Well, coming from Columbia – just college football in general, it’s called professional football for a reason. That’s probably going to be the biggest transition. It’s the speed of the game, the physicality of the game, and the competitive nature. You know, you’re playing against other people who make their living off of this. This is their livelihood. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Bwog: Have you thought at all what it will be like possibly moving to the Midwest?
Martin: I’m actually from Denver, so it wouldn’t be too far of a move for me. If I get the opportunity to make the 53 man roster, then that will definitely be on my mind.
Bwog: What are some of your interests off the field?
Martin: I’m studying anthropology, and outside of football I’m actually really big on the arts. In high school I was in jazz band. I was the lead trombone at my high school. So, I was kind of a band nerd.
Bwog: Wow! I was a band nerd too!
Martin: Cool! Ya, I played a few instruments, but trombone was my primary instrument in high school. It was a lot of fun, and it’s something that I really enjoy.
Bwog: Do you have any thoughts about all the recent controversy that has come up surrounding your fellow player, Chad Washington, and the racist remarks that have been found on some players’ twitter pages? Have you ever experienced any racism during your time on the team?
Martin: I’ve never experienced that on the football team. It’s really disappointing that all of this is happening. I heard about Chad’s incident last night, and it’s just disappointing that this is happening at the university. It’s also disappointing that we don’t really know what’s happening. There are so many things coming out, but nobody really knows what’s going on. I mean, there’s nothing that I can do about it. We’re all just sitting, watching, and waiting to see how things turn out.
Bwog: Thank you so much! It was a pleasure meeting with you. Again, congratulations on all your success! It’s great news for you and great news for the whole university.
Martin: Thank you! I’m looking forward to moving forward. I’ve got an incredible opportunity in front of me, and I’m looking to take advantage of it.
With special thanks to Bwog’s friends and family in Kansas for helping us sound like we actually know anything about football.
Photo via Go Columbia Lions