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Referee Clay Martin hospitalized

Referee Clay Martin, who has been on the NFL covid list, has been hospitalized.



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Referee Clay Martin, who entered quarantine two weeks ago prior to a Monday night game he was scheduled to officiate, has been hospitalized in Tulsa, Okla., near his hometown.

Martin has been on the league’s covid list, according to a report on Dec. 21 in the Tulsa World, after he was pulled from his assigned game that night between the Steelers and Bengals. Referee John Hussey, who had worked the previous Thursday night game stepped in, apparently on short notice. The Tulsa World reported that Martin was asymptomatic, and according to their source, “doing okay” at that time.

Martin, 45, was admitted to the hospital today, according to Barry Lewis of the Tulsa World. Martin is a basketball coach for the high school in the Tulsa suburb of Jenks, and sent an optimistic note to the team, “I’m going to be in the hospital for a little while. Keep practicing and working hard and I will look forward to rejoining you soon.”

Martin’s family released a statement through the school:

Our family is very appreciative of all the heartwarming messages that we’re receiving. Clay is receiving medical attention at St. Francis. Our family will continue to find peace in our faith, each other and many, many people who we are blessed to call friends.

Martin joined the NFL in 2015 from Conference USA and was promoted from umpire to referee in 2018.

Martin’s crew will be headed by Adrian Hill for the second straight week — last week was part of a doubled Friday-Sunday assignment and this week was to be Hill’s off week. Because all of the Week 17 games are played on the same day, there is are no extra referees available should there be another vacancy this week, which could lead to a “field promotion” of another official.

Our prayers are with Clay Martin for a swift and complete recovery.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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