Shannon Martin, 36, of York passed away over the weekend, leaving behind 3 daughters and 1 son, his mother and father, and a long list of aunts and uncles.
One of those ways was football, and one of the communities he touched the most is the Hanover Rhinos football family.
Martin played one year for the Hanover Rhinos, suiting up during the 2015 season.
Martin started at linebacker on head coach Adam Bostian’s defense in that season.
During 2015, Martin helped guide the Rhinos to their second-ever playoff appearance.
His 44 solo tackles tied for the team lead, his 62 total tackles good for second.
He added a team-high 9 total tackles in the playoff game at Harrisburg.
Martin recorded his only sack of the season in week 9, dropping Fredericksburg Bears quarterback Josh Browne behind the line.
His friends and teammates called him “Mercy”, a nickname he picked up before deciding to play in Hanover.
“That’s what you felt from his wrath on the field,” said Bob Moore, a relative of Martin, and his teammate on two teams, including the Rhinos.
Martin played for the York Silver Bullets in 2013-14, and also played fall-ball with the York Generals in 2015.
He teamed up with current Rhino Travis Garretson on that York Generals squad.
“Shannon was a great guy, and awesome athlete,” Garretson said. “He played whatever we needed him to play, and played it with heart and intensity. My first semi-pro tackle, Shannon went low on the running back, and had him held up for a second, and I came in high. We crushed the guy, and (Shannon) got up and looked at me, and said ‘That was crazy!'”
Martin helped the Generals to the Independant Football League Championship game, where they lost a hard fought game.
“When we made a run to the championship game,” Garretson said, “We were getting clobbered, and the refs called the game short in the beginning of the 4th quarter, because a couple of our guys were being sour on the sideline, because we were losing so bad. Shannon was the first person on the 50, ready to shake hands with the champions. Shannon is missed by a lot of people, my prayers go out to his family, friends, and teammates. R.I.P #4”.
Martin made a great impact on the field, but his teammates and the staff during his time in Hanover remembered him for a number of reasons, both on the field and off.
“It meant a lot. We had a mutual respect for eachother’s game. Always had eachother’s back. He was violent on the football field but was gentle off. It’s just a shame and I feel for his family. One of those guys you wanted to go to war with. He definitely has stuck out in my head the 2 years I’ve played for the Rhinos.” – Lloyd Welford, Rhinos cornerback.
“He was with us my first year, and in the short time that I knew him, I noticed he was always a team player on and off the field. Mercy was a family man, and was always respectful and kind. I’m glad I got the chance to meet him, and he will be missed greatly.” – Lauren Goodman, Rhinos trainer.
“Shannon was definitely the most underrated player on the team and was a super nice guy but on the field he was an animal.” – Jeremy Knaub, Rhinos running back
“He always had a smile on his face. He was a hard hitter on Defense and played every game 100%. He was a leader on the Defense and a family man off the field to his children.” – Chris Bunty, Rhinos president and co-owner.
“The minute he was not on the field for a play, he could go from player to just nice guy.” – Ursula H. Yost, Rhinos photographer.
“He was one of a kind, full of jokes and lived life like it was his last day. He had a way of seeing the positive in the negative. We weren’t blood, but he will always be my brother.” – Charles Smith, Rhinos cornerback.