Dishman is back after a visit home
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch08/19/2004
MACOMB, Ill. - When the football players at Lincoln (Neb.) North Star High saw Chris Dishman's Hummer parked outside the weight room early one morning this week, they figured he'd be coaching their team again.
"They thought I was released," Dishman said after Wednesday afternoon's practice at Rams training camp. "They (said), 'Geez, you already got cut?'"
No, Dishman is still with the Rams, vying for a job on an offensive line badly lacking in personnel. But he had some unfinished business that needed to be addressed, so he left for his Garland, Neb., home after Thursday night's preseason game in St. Louis and returned to Western Illinois University about noon Wednesday.
"Just a lot of personal stuff," said Dishman, who had decided to retire after seven NFL seasons before Rams coach Mike Martz persuaded him earlier this month to accept a one-year deal and report to camp. Dishman said it seemed like a good idea at the time, but . . .
"My kids, I didn't get to say goodbye to them," said Dishman, 30, a father of two. "It was getting tough for them, crying every night and calling me up and telling me they wanted me to come home. It started to make me (wonder) if . . . my retirement wasn't a bad plan. The money's all good and everything, but when you've got kids at home, the money doesn't really mean anything to you."
Although Dishman acknowledged that "definitely there were second thoughts," he emphasized that he never seriously considered re-retiring. "My wife and my dad both said, you signed a contract, don't back out like some of those guys," he said. "I was raised that way. There was no way that I wasn't coming back."
But he wanted to see his children again, as well as his extended family at North Star, where he'd been serving as an assistant coach. "I went up and saw them practice," he said. "I let them know why I wasn't there personally. Calling them on the phone, I think, is inconsiderate when you've spent four months with these kids.
"Some of them don't have fathers. It's not a troubled group, but it's a new school there, so they're getting kids there from all over town. If you're a role model to them, you need to go back and show them your face and tell them you haven't forgotten about them."
Two players are hurt
Two more Rams went down with injuries Wednesday, but Martz reported that neither player was seriously hurt. Offensive tackle Grant Williams, who probably will be in the lineup when the Rams open the regular season Sept. 12, turned his right ankle in the morning practice and skipped the afternoon workout.
Cornerback DeJuan Groce appeared to be much more seriously hurt. He twisted his knee when he "got in an awkward position when he was trying to change direction," Martz said, and immediately was sent back to St. Louis. An MRI showed "no structural damage," Martz said. "There's a little swelling. We dodged a bullet there."
Hargrove tries tackle
Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, the team's third-round pick in April's draft, took a number of reps at defensive tackle Wednesday. It's merely an experiment, Martz cautioned.
"We just think with his speed, size and strength that he might be able to add something for us in there," Martz said. "We'll look him at him a little bit."