FOXBOROUGH — When the Patriots re-signed Derrick Martin Oct. 31, it was largely viewed as a move aimed at bolstering the injury-riddled secondary.
But perhaps there was another reason to bring back the seventh-year safety out of Wyoming after cutting him Aug. 31.
It all but assured the Patriots would have what they seemed to be missing from last year’s Super Bowl run: a lucky charm.
“I hope that’s what they were thinking’’ Martin said on Thursday, breaking into a laugh.
Martin, you see, was a member of the last two Super Bowl-winning teams.
He was with the Packers for their victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, though he didn’t play because of a knee injury suffered midway through the season. Last season, he was with the Giants, who beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
That’s two trips to the Super Bowl with two teams that resulted in two rings.
“I’m just trying to get to the top again,’’ said Martin, 27, a Denver native who was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round in 2006.
After three seasons with the Ravens, Martin was traded to the Packers in 2009. He was released by the Packers in 2011 and signed as a free agent with the Giants, appearing in all four playoff games last season.
“I just want to get to the top, that’s all I play for,” Martin said. “But we’re just focused on the game ahead of us. That’s what we’re focused on. That’s why I’m going to be watching the games this weekend.’’
What if the Patriots draw the Ravens in the divisional round? “Then it’s the Ravens,’’ he said. “We’re prepared for whomever. I think we have a great team and we’re going to go out and compete.’’
Martin would like nothing more than to make it a Super Bowl trifecta with the Patriots.
“No matter where I’m at and no matter what I’m doing, my goal has always been to get to the top,’’ said Martin, who has been driven since he was a quarterback/running back at Thomas Jefferson High, where he led his team to four Denver championships and, as a senior, was a member of his school’s state championship 4 x 100-meter relay team.
“You know, if it’s not football, it’s something else where I’m always trying to get to the pinnacle. I just happened to be on a good team with a good quarterback and a good coach. That’s just how it happens. If you find a good quarterback and a good coach, you’re in a good position.’’
And the two times Martin has been to the Super Bowl, that seemed to be the winning formula: good coach, good quarterback.
He had Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay. “Good quarterback,’’ Martin said.
He had Eli Manning at New York. “Good quarterback.’’
And now that he’s in New England? He has Tom Brady at the helm of the Patriots’ league-leading offense.
“Good quarterback,’’ Martin said of Brady. “You can’t ask for none better than that. Before that, I had Steve McNair, and then Joe Flacco after that. So I’ve been blessed to be around a great amount of talent and been able to soak it up and just try to bring my intensity and my effort to practice [against the offense], that way when Sunday comes then it’s easy for them.’’
Martin’s positive approach explains why the Patriots re-signed him when their secondary was decimated by injuries.
“Derrick Martin is an extremely high-energy, true professional that comes to work every day and just brings a tremendous attitude of going to work and having fun and just really studying and being disciplined,’’ said Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “I think he’s another guy we had to throw out there and you feel confident he’s going to do his job to the best of his ability, at least be in the right places at the right time and really try to communicate and do what he’s asked to do.’’
Although he was inactive for three consecutive games, Martin appeared in five of the last eight games of the season, playing his first game as a Patriot Nov. 11 against the Bills and recording a pair of special teams tackles.
In last Sunday’s 28-0 win over the Dolphins, Martin recorded two tackles, including the first sack of his career. It was one of seven the Patriots rang up against rookie Ryan Tannehill.
“It was awesome,” Martin said, smiling at the recollection of his 4-yard sack of Tannehill with 7:50 remaining in the game. It was followed on the next play by Justin Francis’s third sack of the day.
“We came out and we were getting pressure from a lot of places and our cornerbacks were holding up so well, our coverage was there,’’ Martin said. “I think mine might have been a coverage sack, because [Tannehill] stepped up into the pocket and the coverage was so good and I was able to collapse the pocket.’’
Said Patricia: “It’s good to have those guys on your team that maybe necessarily don’t get all the reps but that can step in and just be able to function at a high level.’’
In Martin’s case, he’s demonstrated the ability to perform not only at a high level, but an ability of being able to get to the biggest game of the season.
So, what did the Lord of the Rings do with all his Super Bowl bling when he arrived in Foxborough?
“Put it away,’’ he said. “It’s all back at the house. It’s just sitting in a safe at the house. It’s just collecting dust. I’m more focused on the next one than what happened in the past. Once your season is over, or your career is over, that’s when you focus on that type of stuff. But I think I still have a nice little career ahead of me, so I’m focused on getting to the playoffs and winning games until I can get another one.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.