In an intriguing turn of events, Blake Martinez, the former free agent linebacker, has decided to hang up his entrepreneurial hat and lace up his cleats once more, as he makes his return to the NFL by signing with the Carolina Panthers. This announcement comes on the heels of a workout with the team on October 25th, signaling a new chapter in Martinez’s NFL career.
At the age of 29, Martinez took a bold step away from the gridiron earlier this year, opting to retire and pursue a passion for collectibles by diving into the business of selling Pokemon cards. His venture, known as Blake’s Breaks, caught the attention of fans and hobbyists alike, intertwining the worlds of sports and collectibles in an innovative way. However, the journey met an obstacle when Whatnot, an online social marketplace, barred his business from selling cards on their platform in August.
Martinez was one of the league’s top LB’s
Prior to this entrepreneurial endeavor, Martinez made a name for himself on the football field. His last appearance in the NFL was with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022, where he played in four games. Martinez’s NFL journey began when he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He quickly established himself as a defensive stalwart, leading the league in tackles in 2017 with an impressive 144 stops and consistently delivering performances that put him at the heart of the Packers’ defense for four seasons.
Martinez‘s relentless pursuit of excellence was evident as he racked up 144 tackles in 2018, followed by an even more remarkable 155 in 2019. His prowess on the field earned him a lucrative three-year, $30 million contract with the New York Giants in 2020. Despite his contributions, the Giants released him after two seasons, leading Martinez to join the Raiders‘ practice squad in October of the same year.
The return of Blake Martinez to the NFL adds a seasoned and skilled player to the Panthers‘ linebacker corps. It’s a significant boost to their defense, bringing a veteran presence and a proven track record of on-field leadership and productivity. The Panthers are undoubtedly looking to capitalize on Martinez’s experience as they bolster their defense for the current season.
Carolina gets a solid veteran
For Martinez, this return is not just about continuing his career in the sport he excels in; it’s also about rediscovering his passion for the game after a brief hiatus. With his business venture taking a back seat, Martinez‘s focus is now on revitalizing his NFL career and proving that his ability on the field remains undiminished.