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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Chandler blocks Falcons out of his mind

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 16 2004

    Chris Chandler spent more time in Atlanta - five seasons - than any other stop
    in his 17-year NFL career. In terms of both personal statistics and team
    success, the time in Georgia marked the apex of his career.

    He led the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 1998 season and made two Pro
    Bowls while playing in Atlanta. So Sunday's return to the Georgia Dome will
    bring back fond memories for Chandler, now a backup quarterback for the Rams.

    Uh, no. In fact, not even close.

    "I have some friends back there, but I really have no connection at all,"
    Chandler said Thursday. "As far as football, I've kind of forgotten all about
    that. The way things ended there, I'm kind of dead to all that now."

    Chandler never wears his NFC championship ring from that magical '98 season of
    Jamal Anderson and the Dirty Birds. In fact, he'd be hard-pressed to find it.

    "We've moved twice, and I really couldn't tell you where it is right now,"
    Chandler said.

    Over his entire NFL career, Chandler has played on only two teams that finished
    the season with winning records. One was the 1988 Indianapolis Colts in his
    rookie season.

    The other was the 1998 Atlanta Falcons. Those three playoff games with the
    Falcons, including a 34-19 loss to John Elway and the Denver Broncos in Super
    Bowl XXXIII, remain the only postseason contests of Chandler's career.

    But Georgia definitely is not on his mind - and hasn't been for some time.

    "I think I'm numb to all that really," Chandler said. "As things ended there,
    and the way they ended there, I pretty much have just forgotten all about it. I
    know it was fun. But again, you tend to remember the way things end more so
    than anything else."

    For Chandler, the beginning of the end came in the 2001 draft, when the Falcons
    made Michael Vick the No. 1 overall pick. Beginning with the '01 season opener,
    Vick was inserted into the lineup as part of a rotation system devised by
    coaches - a highly unusual move for the quarterback position in the NFL.
    Because of injuries to Chandler, Vick started two games and played in parts of
    four others.

    But Chandler still played well enough - and stayed healthy enough - to throw
    365 passes that season and finish 10th in the NFL in passer rating (84.1).

    On Dec. 23, 2001, Chandler threw for a franchise-record 431 yards in a 33-30
    victory over Buffalo. But the largest cheers of the day came when it appeared
    that Vick would be replacing Chandler, who had been fighting the flu all

    Turns out that was Chandler's final game in the Georgia Dome. He was exposed in
    the Houston Texans' expansion draft in February but went unclaimed. Later that
    month, he was released in a move that saved the Falcons about $3.4 million in
    cap space, but also cleared the path for Vick's ascendancy to the quarterback

    "What happened today puts me in a group with a lot of people in Atlanta,"
    Chandler said at the time. "Like (the Super Bowl) was a memory far, far away."

    Despite the sour departure from Atlanta, Chandler harbors no ill will toward
    the city. Some of his best friends still call Atlanta home, including former
    Falcons quarterbacks Steve Bartkowski and Bobby Hebert.

    "In fact, that might be a place where we ultimately settle," Chandler said. "My
    youngest daughter was born there, we have a lot of great memories about living
    there. I could forget about the football and never think about it again and be

    Just not yet. Chandler spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons in Chicago, before
    joining the Rams last March. After seeing more playing time than Marc Bulger
    this preseason, Chandler quickly has shifted into the background as the No. 2
    quarterback. During the week, the preparation is the same.

    "You have to study a lot, and you have to get mentally ready to go no matter
    what your role is," Chandler said.

    But game day, obviously, is different as a backup.

    "There's a little more uncertainty as far as your playing situation," Chandler
    said. "You know, it could come on any play, or it might not come at all."

    Even if it doesn't, Chandler must be on his toes, because he relays the play
    calls in from coach Mike Martz to Bulger.

    "So knowing all the verbiage is really important for me," Chandler said,
    laughing. "I'm the middle man, so I have a lot to worry about.

    "Things go fast on Sundays, and so me and Marc study a lot and we do talk a lot
    about how things are called. We try to have a really good communication between
    us, because ultimately that's the last thing he hears."

  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Chandler blocks Falcons out of his mind

    Chandler never wears his NFC championship ring from that magical '98 season of
    Hopefully, we will be replacing that ring with a bigger one this year.
    Over his entire NFL career, Chandler has played on only two teams that finished the season with winning records.
    Mr. Chandler, sit back and prepare to enjoy your 3rd.

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