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Forgotten Harvey Martin Was One Of The Early Pass Rush Greats

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Before DeMarcus Ware, Harvey Martin was the face of the Dallas Cowboys pass rush. The time is long since overdue for him to take his place in the Ring Of Honor.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Harvey Martin.

For the fans who were around for the Dallas Cowboys first run of success the name brings to mind memories of the Doomsday Defense and what may have been the greatest single season ever experienced by a defensive lineman. It conjures up memories of Defensive Player of the Year honors being won and of Martin sharing the Super Bowl MVP award with fellow lineman Randy White. Harvey Martin was the definition of defensive domination during his time as a part of Tom Landry's squad.

Not all of us were so fortunate as to see the late Mr. Martin showcase his skills on the gridiron. I was able to catch the tail end of his career and I was far too young to appreciate the talents that he brought to the game. That does not mean that greatness cannot be recognized by those of us whose memory is more of DeMarcus Ware eventually surpassing Harvey as the Cowboys all-time sack leader. The effort that Ware had to put into achieving that milestone is a testament to just what a force Harvey Martin was.

Few of us doubt that shortly after DWare finally hangs up his cleats for the last time the Jones family will ensconce #94 in the Ring Of Honor, and that honor is certainly due to Mr. Ware. The tragedy is that the player that he chased for so long will most likely not be in that elusive club.

Outside the game Martin found his most difficult challenges. His on the field nickname of "Too Mean" followed the defensive end beyond the game. There were many rumors of domestic violence surrounding the player and also allegations of drug abuse. It was the drug rumors and his refusal to submit to a drug test that forced Harvey to retire from the game. He finally hit rock bottom in the mid 1990s when he was convicted of domestic violence and cocaine charges. For those offenses Martin was ordered into an extensive rehabilitation program.

In the eyes of many, the sins of Harvey Martin may outweigh his contributions as a player. Perhaps they do, but I find myself leaning the other direction. A couple seasons have passed since I last took to these pages to extol the reasons why the time has come for Jerry Jones to induct Martin into the Ring Of Honor. I am not the only one who feels this way.

There is now a petition being circulated to help persuade the Jones family that Harvey Martin should be inducted into the team's most exclusive fraternity.  I am proud to have added my name to the petition, which was actually started by one of our own, and I am sure that many of our readers feel the same way.

From my own comments on the petition:

Harvey Martin greatly contributed to the success of his Dallas Cowboys teams during the 1970's and 80's. He is the only Cowboy defender to ever be honored as the DPOY, and he is a former Super Bowl MVP. Until recent seasons he was the club's all time sack leader. If that does not equal Ring Of Honor status, I have no clue what it would take.

Will it be a success? Only time will tell, but one of the benefits of writing for BTB is that I have a voice to reach my fellow Cowboys fans and perhaps even a little influence on them. One of my "pet causes" has always been to get Martin, along with Ed "Too Tall" Jones into the Ring. Working together we can help persuade Jerry Jones to right a wrong and induct Harvey Martin into the Ring Of Honor.