Glenn Martinez’s wife and son couldn’t be at Monday night’s game; his son was ill and the parents didn’t want to risk making him feel worse.
But he brought back a present for them — the football with which he scored his first career touchdown on an 80-yard punt return.
Now he’ll bring home something else — the plaudits that go along with being AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, an honor that was years of practice-squad frustration in the making.
“I took the back road,” Martinez said. “I took the long way to get here. I’ve been working hard the past few years to find a home and make a name for myself. Finally I’ve gotten the opportunity, so I’m just trying to take advantage of it and make the best of it.”
Martinez’s 80-yard runback marked the Broncos’ first score on a punt or kickoff return since Rod Smith returned a punt for a touchdown against San Diego in November 2003.
The only blight on Martinez’s night came when he muffed a third-quarter punt. Tennessee recovered at the Denver 27 and drove to its second and final touchdown of the evening.
“It was just a lack of concentration,” he said. “I took my eye off the ball and looked forward, and that cost me. I’ve just got to shake it off and move on to the next play.”
The muff might have been unpleasant, but it wasn’t enough to cost the Broncos the game — or Martinez the designation as the AFC’s top special-teamer for Week 11. He is the second Bronco this year to win the award; Jason Elam earned it back in Week 2 after providing the game-winning points for a second consecutive week.
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