ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Mike Martin had been through this before, to an extent.
In college at Michigan, Martin committed to one coach, played three seasons for another and then his final year with a third coach before ending up as a third-round pick for the Tennessee Titans in 2012.
Now heading toward free agency in March, the defensive lineman said his NFL experience so far has felt like his college experience in one aspect. In four seasons in Tennessee, he’s played for three different coaches: Mike Munchak for his first two seasons, Ken
Whisenhunt for a season-and-a-half and then Mike Mularkey for the end of this past season.
"Man, that’s been my whole career," Martin said before a signing-day event at his alma mater. "Here (at Michigan), as you know, and then the NFL. That’s something I’ve just been used to having to get used to, and hopefully I can find some consistency next year wherever I go."
It’s unclear where that will be. Martin said he would like to stay with Tennessee and that those conversations about that have "been all positive things said to this point." But he admitted there’s a level of uncertainty to his future, especially since there have been more changes.
Besides being on his third coaching staff, the Titans hired a new general manager, Jon Robinson, last month. Free agency will be on Martin's mind as he begins his offseason training in Florida this month.
"Once all that pans itself out, then from my standpoint I can kind of figure out what’s the best fit for me, you know?" Martin said. "This window is short and you have to make sure you’re in the best situation, you’re in the best fit for yourself. So I’m just trying to figure it out."
Martin’s career has been up-and-down during his four seasons and three coaches. His best season was his first, when he had 37 tackles and three sacks in 412 snaps. In the three years since, he’s had 596 snaps, making 30 tackles with only one sack.
Last season, one that ended with him on injured reserve with a knee injury, he played only 43 snaps and made three tackles.
"I feel like I’ve done well. Whenever I’ve had my opportunity, I’ve always capitalized, and for one reason or another that’s been limited these past few years," Martin said. "But my work ethic and all that is something that you see on tape, and I’m always a guy that I make the plays I’m supposed to make and I do what I got to do on third down getting to the quarterback."
Where he plays next season is an open question, but he knows defensive tackles are "high commodities in the league," so he’s excited to see what free agency brings.
Besides working out, he’s also focusing on his post-football plan this offseason. Martin said he is starting the MBA program at the University of Miami this month.
"Life after football, you know," Martin said. "When guys get done, on average, if you have a 10-year career, which is my goal, at least, I’ll be 30-years-old and I’ll be done playing football.
"You never know if I’ll play longer or whatever, what happens. You’ve got to set yourself up, and business has always been something that I’ve been in tune with, so I’m excited about having the opportunity."