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NFL OKs Curtis Martin’s Jets Pact

April 9, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Curtis Martin officially became a New York Jet on Thursday.

The running back’s contract, one clause of which was in dispute, was upheld by the NFL Management Council, avoiding the need for a special master to rule on the matter.

The New England Patriots, for whom Martin gained more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, had already agreed to take first-round and third-round draft picks from the Jets in the April 18-19 draft.

But the Management Council continued to examine a clause that allowed Martin to opt either for a one-year deal at $4 million or a six-year deal for $36 million. The one-year deal, which would not allow Martin to become a protected franchise player, was under question because it might have been a way to keep New England from matching it.

Martin has until April 15 to decide whether he wants the one-year or the four-year deal.

He said last week that he was inclined to accept the $4 million, reserving the right to change his mind.

``Obviously,″ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said at the time, ``Martin said what he was supposed to say under the circumstances

Harold Henderson, the council’s executive director said he had taken depositions from Martin; his agent Eugene Parker; coach Bill Parcells of the Jets, and Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets’ contract negotiator. Henderson, who could have sent it to a special master for arbitration, said he saw no reason to take the dispute any farther.

Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, had filed the original appeal. But he dropped it when he agreed to take the draft picks.

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