Josh Martin: NFL Linebacker and Entrepreneur
Meet Josh Martin. A Houston, Texas native raised in Denver Colorado, who grew up running track, playing multiple instruments, and excelling in basketball. Oh yeah, and he played some football too. After not becoming a starter on the football team until his senior year, Josh quickly made a name for himself at Cherokee Trail High School. After being recruited by multiple schools such as the University of Wyoming, he chose to play Division 1 football for the Columbia University Lions where he dominated the Ivy League. Fast-forward to today and Josh is now a successful 6-year NFL veteran playing Outside Linebacker and thriving as a Special Teams ace for the New York Jets after a stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. While his on field successes are great, it is off the field where he is making just as big of a name for himself. Josh is a world traveler, vlogger, social activist, financial literacy advocate, art enthusiast, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Living by the motto that “it’s not as simple as it sounds but it’s not as hard as it seems,” Josh is no stranger to hard work and using all of his talents to leverage future success for himself and also opportunities for his communities. He gives back specifically as a junior board member for Project Rousseau and a board member for the Harlem School of the Arts where he is donating money for every NY Jets sack this season.
Q: What was the transition like from home to NYC?
Josh: First and foremost, I wanted to be in New York. I wanted to be in the city. The arts played a major role in my life growing up, so it was important for me to be in a city with a thriving art scene. It just made sense. That being said, I still had difficulty finding purpose in my time at Columbia. I was stuck following the path of what I felt I was supposed to do, and I couldn’t see what was next. I struggled in the classroom and on the field but ultimately learned a lot about myself in the process.
Q: Sticking with transitions, what was the one from Columbia to the nfl like?
Josh: Football is football. Playing the game was the easy part. Everyone was bigger and stronger, but so was I. I knew I belonged after the first few snaps in rookie minicamp. Understanding and trusting I’ve put in the work and created good habits also made it easier. The hardest part was just becoming an adult. I had never really lived alone in the “real world.” Seemingly simple things like writing my rent checks and opening a bank account were all things I had to Google. There was a short period of time where I was literally walking around with hundreds of thousands of dollars in game checks because I didn’t have my bank account setup. With time though I began to figure things out.
Q: How did you become so active off of the field?
Josh: I was an undrafted free-agent out of Columbia, so it was always in the back of my mind to begin to build a transition plan. NFL careers don’t last forever no matter how good you are, and I was fighting for my job every day. Football required all of my energy and effort the first few years of my career, but eventually I gained a semblance of security and began to invest in myself off the field. I hired an assistant and built a team to help me accomplish my goals beyond football. I’ve taken continuing education courses my entire career, but I was tired of sitting in a classroom taking notes. I started traveling more to network. I started traveling more to have new cultural experiences. I invested in myself professionally and personally. I rediscovered passions and even found new ones. I live my life as an example to black youth by not allowing anyone to define who I am. I do that for myself, and they can too.