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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Climate control for Chris Draft

    By Jim Thomas
    Wednesday, Aug. 01 2007

    Chris Draft could feel it almost as soon as he walked on the practice field
    that morning. The veteran linebacker was breathing hard before the Rams had
    even finished their stretching period. Just a couple of drills into practice,
    and Draft had enough.

    While most fans — and media members — were scouring the practice field that day
    to see if Marc Bulger had reported, and Adam Carriker had signed, Draft was
    escorted off the field by a trainer.

    It wasn't exactly the start Draft envisioned on his first day of training camp
    as a St. Louis Ram.

    "Heck no," Draft said Tuesday. "I just couldn't catch my breath. Sometimes I
    can't catch my breath a little bit early, and then I get my inhaler and I'm
    good. But for some reason it wouldn't loosen up."

    Last Friday's asthma attack was one of the worst episodes Draft has experienced
    in his nine NFL seasons. He spent two nights getting treated and tested at

    Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Tuesday morning marked the first time Draft was even
    allowed to watch practice at Rams Park.

    "He's going through the mental side of it, and improving," Rams coach Scott
    Linehan said. "The outlook's good. Can't give you an exact day (on a return to
    practice). But hopefully, by the end of the week is realistic."

    Draft said his medication has been altered. He might try to ride a stationary
    bike today and plans to do a treadmill test Thursday.

    According to Draft, team medical officials think "some allergens or something"
    probably triggered the attack.

    "Anything that gets my throat and everything inflamed a little bit, the
    asthma's just going to act up a little bit more," Draft said. "Right now,
    they're just trying to get my airways and everything to calm down. I had me a
    nice little asthma attack, so it takes me a few days for everything to kind of
    calm down."

    Although he had no asthma problems last season, when he played for Carolina,
    Draft said it's not unusual for him to have some troubles during the first week
    of training camp. After spending the past seven years of his NFL career in the
    South — with the Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons — Draft may need an
    adjustment period getting used to "St. Louis" air.

    "The crazy thing on that is I didn't have any problems in spring," Draft said.

    Draft made it through the spring workouts and June minicamp with no
    asthma-related problems. This month, he returned to St. Louis five days before
    the start of training camp, working out on a couple of those days. Again, with
    no problem.

    "But for some reason that first day (of camp) it really kind of kicked in a
    little bit, and kind of kicked me in my butt a little bit," Draft said. "That's
    one of the biggest things with moving from team to team. Other people are
    looking at it as just a change of scheme, change of this, change of that. When
    I'm looking at it, I have to add on the factor that I'm about to change what I
    know. And that's the air."

    Last spring, the Rams signed Draft to a three-year, $4.3 million free-agent
    contract, including a $1.3 million signing bonus. The contract seems like a
    bargain given Draft's production last year. Starting all 16 games — mostly in
    place of the injured Dan Morgan — Draft led the NFL's seventh-ranked defense
    with 111 tackles and also registered 5½ sacks. It was one of the best seasons
    of his career. So why didn't Carolina re-sign Draft?

    "I don't even know," he said. "That's basically on them. I thought, and I think
    everybody there thought, there was no question that was going to happen. But
    that's just how this game is. ... I've been around this game enough. I've been
    on five teams, so I can work with it."

    Even before his asthma attack, Draft didn't have a starting position with the
    Rams linebacker corps, which has all three starters returning from last season.

    But Draft has been there before. With 71 career starts on his résumé, he
    usually finds a way onto the field.

    "I want to start, but I don't have to start," Draft said. "Because I'm going to
    be ready to roll whenever you need it."

    Maybe so, but the Rams will breathe easier once Draft gets through his asthma

  2. #2
    tomahawk247's Avatar
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    Re: Climate control for Chris Draft

    He sounds like another classy guy to have on the team. And his production over the last few seasons has to mean he is one of the most underrated players around right now. I can see him getting on the field often, but hopefully not due to an injury to either Pisa or Spoon

  3. #3
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Climate control for Chris Draft

    Chris Draft is money in the bank and he gets to show his old team Carolina why they SHOULD have paid him the very first game of the year. (hmm speaking of which, I wonder if Carolina can part with any more good LB'S for us next year?)

  4. #4
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Climate control for Chris Draft

    Hope he gets better soon!

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