Lions’ Sam Martin debunks rumors, but coy on injury

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Sam Martin has read the various rumors and the Lions punter is happy to tell you they’re all wrong. Still, he’s not inclined to tell anyone exactly how he suffered an ankle injury this offseason that sidelined him the first six games.

“It was not skateboarding, it wasn’t cliff diving, it had nothing to do with my dog, no staircases,” Martin said. “I read them all. I read all the stories guys and you guys were about 0-10.

“All you need to know is it’s not what everyone thinks,” Martin said. “I wasn’t doing anything stupid. It was a freak accident. It’s not even worth the story. It was just a freak accident. It could have happened to anyone, any day, anywhere.”

The injury, which occurred between mandatory minicamp in June and the start of training camp at the end of July, landed Martin on the non-football injury list. He returned to the lineup Sunday against the Steelers and showed almost no signs of rust.

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His first two punts averaged 50.0 yards and all six of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. His lone snafu came on his third and final punt, which he shanked off the side of his foot for 19 yards.

“Chalking that up as a rookie mistake, if you will, just getting back in there and rushing myself and letting that one go,” he said. “Other than that one punt, I was happy with my game.”

Replacement Jeff Locke performed well in Martin’s stead, but the Lions will benefit from his return. He averaged 44.2 net yards last season, the second-best number since the league began tracking the stats in 1976.