Former Milton-Union and Indiana University standout Wes Martin won’t mind if he never experiences another NFL season like the past one.
Not because of anything that happened on the field — as the former fourth-round pick of the Washington Redskins helped the Washington Football Team win the NFC East Division title and advance to the playoffs.
It was just what the season entailed, between no training camp and numerous virtual meetings and practices.
“It was a wild ride, that’s for sure,” Martin said. “Covid testing every morning. Pretty much the whole back half of the season we were on zoom.”
Martin, an offensive guard, started the first five season.
And like the rest of the his WFT teammates, he ignored the outside noise that gave them and first-year coach Ron Rivera little chance of success.
“Going into the season, no one outside of our team believed we had much of a shot,” Martin said. “Guys in the locker room, we believed we were going to be successful. It was a great group of hard-working guys.”
The Redskins did it in the most difficult of circumstances.
A coach battling cancer, three different starting quarterbacks — and emerged as a playoff team.
And even though they faced Tampa Bay, who would advance to the Super Bowl this week, in the opening round — it was a game to the very end.
“We believed we stacked up pretty well with anyone,” Martin said. “We believed we could compete with anyone. And if you look at our games, even the ones we lost, we were competitive the entire game.”
And they were embraced by the fans — although maybe not in the traditional way.
“That first part (few or no fans at games) was very strange,” Martin said. “But, on social media you could feel the energy the games had for the team they had been rooting for their entire lives. And when you went out in the community, you would see them wearing all their Washington Football Team stuff in support of us.”
And Martin and his teammates are excited about the future.
“For sure,” he said. “We had a whole new staff this year. They put us on a path to success. There is a lot of positive energy and we can build on that in the off-season.”
Martin says his still has close ties to his hometown of West Milton.
“I pretty much still hear from everyone that I did in high school,” Martin said. “I have the same relationship with them. The same as the people I went to college with.”
Martin is especially excited with — working with his mom Rhonda Martin — what he has been able to accomplish with Brave Breed Rescue Inc.
It is non-profit he started during his junior year in college to rescue stray dogs.
“It pretty much started when I was a kid,” he said about his passion for dogs. “My mom was always bringing these stray dogs into myself.”
Playing in the NFL has given him an avenue to continue that passion.
“The dog rescue would have happened anyway,” Martin said. “I interned with a non-profit one summer in college. But, playing in the NFL opened doors to make it happen sooner. It wouldn’t have happened this quickly.”
The success of Brave Breed continues to grow.
“We started it in 2019,” Martin said. “We have already rescued over 100 dogs and had them adopted successfully. It is going great. I never expected to help this many dogs this quickly. That is a big number. We recently bought a 12-acre farm (near West Milton) to run it on.”
And Martin will continue his hard work with his two loves — football and dogs — regardless of what it takes.