Nicknames are usually seen as terms of endearment for professional athletes. Names like, “Sweetness” for Walter Payton, “Primetime” for Deion Sanders all the way up to today’s more common “Megatron” for Calvin Johnson and even “Matty Ice” for Matt Ryan headline the list of proud monikers in the NFL
But while many football stars enjoy their charming aliases, don’t count Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin among them.
Martin has shown a remarkable combination of power and speed on his way to becoming one of the leading rushers in football this season. Much of the power comes from he diminutive tailback’s incredible strength in the weight room.
Martin, who stands at just about 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, wasn’t the tallest guy on the Boise State football team in college, but he was one of the strongest. At the NFL combine earlier this year, Martin even benched the mandatory 225 pounds 28 times, tying the record for running backs. And it’s because of that unbelievable strength that Martin was awarded the nickname “Muscle Hamster” by his teammates at Boise State.
While most people might embrace the humor and honor behind such a nickname, Martin hasn’t exactly taken to it with great pride. During an appearance on the NFL Network’s NFL AM on Tuesday morning, Martin explained his clear disdain for his mighty moniker.
“It has to be the worst nickname ever,” Martin said. “I can’t shake it. It started in college, started back in Boise, with our linemen. I have a lot of bigger friends, and they’d call me the Muscle Hamster because of how much I could lift in the weight room.”
So, the muscle hamster may not be the most glamorous nickname in the world. It may not instill quite the same fear as the “The Assassin” did for Jack Tatum, or even “Beast Mode” does for Marshawn Lynch, but it’s definitely got a nice ring to it. And if Martin continues busting out anything similar to his 251-yard performance on Sunday, then he’ll have kids in the schoolyard likening themselves to the Muscle Hamster for years to come.