Taylor Martinez speaks excitedly about his work designing electronic games for iPhones.

He's also serious about pursuing a career as an NFL quarterback. If QB doesn't work out, he would be open to playing wide receiver, the former Nebraska star told the Journal Star on Thursday.

"I'd love to play quarterback," Martinez said. "I just want to play football. That's the main thing."

He said he played receiver "really well" on the Nebraska scout team during his redshirt season in 2009 against such standout defensive backs as Prince Amukamara, Larry Asante, Alfonzo Dennard and Eric Hagg.

Martinez, who missed all but four games this season because of a left-foot injury, began workouts Tuesday with Los Angeles-area quarterback guru Steve Calhoun. The pair have worked extensively in previous seasons.

"I'm just trying to get back in the swing of things," Martinez said from Laguna Beach, Calif. "My body is feeling better. I'm just trying to feel things out and go from there."

His left foot "feels pretty good right now," he said. "I'm just trying to take it slow and see how much I can do without trying to make it worse."

A 43-game starter at Nebraska, and the school's career leader in total offense, Martinez hasn't received an invitation to the Feb. 22-25 NFL Combine. However, his Mississippi-based agent, James "Bus" Cook, told Martinez there's still a chance he could get such an invite.

Cook's clients include Russell Wilson, Brett Favre, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Randy Moss and Jay Cutler.

As for Martinez's foot injury, his father, Casey, recently sent emails to media outlets that detailed the exact nature of the ailment: A plantar plate tear of the second metatarsophalangeal joint, or 2nd MPJ.

Martinez said he suffered the injury on a running play during the middle of the fourth quarter of Nebraska's opener against Wyoming, and limped off the field after the game. He said he favored the foot in the next two games, against Southern Miss and UCLA. He then sat out for more than a month.

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"I was in so much pain in the second half of the UCLA game," he said. "That's the reason I was in a (walking) boot after the game. I couldn't walk."

He started and played the entire game in a 34-23 loss at Minnesota on Oct. 26. That was the last time he spoke to Nebraska football media before Thursday.

"The only thing you can do with that type of injury is rest," he said. "I tried as hard as I could (against the Gophers). They played really good defense."

Although Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini mistakenly described Martinez's injury as turf toe in the weeks before the Minnesota game, Martinez said Thursday he wasn't upset with the coach for doing so -- there was never a rift between them, he said. Martinez did acknowledge he was frustrated that people thought the injury was turf toe.

He said he acutely understands the nature of turf toe, having played with the injury as a redshirt freshman, when he also battled a high-ankle sprain.

"I've dealt with a lot of pain (at Nebraska). A lot of kids never would've played through the pain I played in," he said. "I'm a tough kid and I played through a lot of stuff."

Sitting out most of this season "was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with," he said.

His work designing apps for iPhones helps take his mind off life's heavy issues. He recently created "Tiny Ninja Jump."

He became intricately involved with computer technology during his early teens, when he managed a web site for his father's work in real estate.

"Ever since then, I kind of fell in love with playing around with coding and stuff like that," he said. "I found it to be interesting and challenging."

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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