Former Buena Vista kicker Carlos Martinez ready to make it in the NFL
When Carlos Martinez signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Eagles last week, he called it the best day of his life.
The next three months could have the biggest impact on his life. The former Buena Vista All-American kicker is on his way to realizing his dream - kicking in the NFL.
"It was exciting," Martinez said of signing the contract. "It was the best day of my life. I'm just trying to soak it all in. I'm shocked that this is happening to me. I'm not satisfied with going to the NFL. I want to be one of the best."
"The next three months will be the biggest impact of my life. It'll be an experience for me. I can't wait," Martinez added.
Signing a contract with the Eagles got him in the league and out of the semi-pro Arena Football 2 League, where he kicked for the Fresno Frenzy last season.
"I got an opportunity to kick in front of NFL scouts at a combine in Reno and Philadelphia called and I had a workout with them and beat out a kicker and signed with them," Martinez said. "I get a chance to kick with David Akers. He's been to the Pro Bowl, so I'll be kicking with one of the best kickers in the league."
If he makes the team, Martinez said the Eagles could use him in a variety of ways.
"I might do long kickoffs," he said. "I might be their backup punter. I've just got to perform in front of the coaches and kick the way I have been the last three to four months."
Martinez, a three-time all-conference and two-time All-American kicker for the Beavers, likes his chances of making the Eagles.
"I feel good about my chances," he said. "We got along together real well. They liked me and I liked them. Even if nothing works out with the Eagles, I could get picked up up by another team. I'm in the loop now."
"I just have to concentrate on what I've got to do with Philadelphia," Martinez added. "If I do good, they might keep me to do kickoffs or a backup punter."
Martinez's approach to mini-camp, which begins in May, will be very business-like but in a fun way.
"I'm going to have to bring my "A" game," he said. "Every kick is going to be looked at, so I have to take advantage of the opportunities I get. When I have my opportunities I need to shine. I just need to stay relaxed and have a smile on my face and make it fun."
The opportunity with the Eagles won't be a make-or-break one for Martinez's career.
"I have everything to gain. If I end up kicking with Akers, it'll make me a better kicker," he said. "If I don't make it with the Eagles I can catch on with another team. The hardest thing is getting into the NFL. Once you're in, you're in. There's no going back to the Arena League."
Martinez finished his career as the all-time career field goal leader at Buena Vista with 48. He connected on 48 of 75 attempts during his four years in Storm Lake, with his longest being from 52 yards as a sophomore. Martinez missed just nine extra points in 115 attempts. He also holds the season field goal mark in the Iowa Conference, setting that record with 17 field goals during the 2000 season.
Martinez fell short of tying the NCAA Division III career field goal mark by four field goals. He did set the Division III career field goal attempts record with 75. During his career, Martinez twice helped the Beavers to victory by connecting on 5 of 5 field goal attempts in one game, and connected on at least two field goals in one game 10 times at BVU.
Martinez also led the Iowa Conference in punting during his senior season. He attempted 54 punts and finished with an average of 40.8 yards in 2001, with his longest being from 66 yards. Fifteen of those punts wound up inside the opposition's 20-yard line.
Martinez was named a "Hot Prospects for 2002-2003" by Paul Assaud Kicking and Punting School. He was ranked in accordance to the Pro College Football Player rating table based on player testing leg strength, technique, experience and predicted success. He earned an 8.3 rating (on a 10.0 scale).
Martinez said he is a different kicker now than when he left Buena Vista.
"In college I trained myself," he said. "I've learned so much on how to kick with the proper mechanics. Now I know what I'm doing wrong. In college, I didn't. I needed training on what I was doing wrong and what I was doing right."
The journey to the NFL for Martinez started when he was 9 years old.
"I remember watching Morten Anderson kick a 61-yard field goal on TV and said 'I want to do that when I get older.' So I started kicking and I stuck with it and I've been doing it my whole life. I've worked hard to get where I'm at. I'm glad I got a break."
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