Former UNM offensive tackle makes it through his debut game with the Rams with few mishaps
By By Nate Latsch
August 13, 2005

ST. LOUIS - Former Lobo Claude Terrell couldn't wait for his first NFL preseason game. The St. Louis Rams rookie left guard, a fourth-round draft pick out of New Mexico, was so excited that he said he wasn't able to sleep on Thursday night in anticipation of Friday's kickoff against the Chicago Bears.
Terrell was able to get a little rest on Friday but then shook off some nerves and played the entire game as the Rams defeated the Bears 17-13 in their preseason opener at Edward Jones Dome.
"I couldn't sleep last night, so I took a nap during the day today, and I was out like a baby," Terrell said. "On the ride over here, I was nervous, but as soon as the game got going and we got in a flow, I was good. This is what I've been doing all my life."
The 6-foot-2, 343-pound rookie, who was promoted to the first unit early in the preseason when free agent Rex Tucker struggled at the position, played well in his NFL debut. He committed one false start penalty late in the third quarter, but he opened up some holes in the running game, was stout in pass protection and did not allow a sack.
"I think I did some things good and some things that need to be improved on, but that's expected for your first game," Terrell said. "I knew I was gonna have some mishaps, but we'll go back to the drawing board and fix those mishaps and keep moving on."
St. Louis coach Mike Martz said afterward it was important for Terrell to get snaps and experience and figure out what it was like to play at the NFL level.
"We want Claude to play," Martz said. "He's gonna have to get used to playing at this level. He needs to go out and play. We've always done that with rookies. We did that with Torry Holt. I think it's important for him to know the stamina that he's going to have to have to play an entire game on the offensive line."
Now the 23-year-old knows what he's up against.
"It felt good," Terrell said. "I know what an NFL game feels like now. I'll have to take care of my body so I can make it through this long season.
"I was nervous as I don't know what before. But after that first collision, I was good to go. I enjoyed it. We'll go back and look at the film and see what needs to be improved and go from there."
Terrell made a good first impression on Friday night.
On the Rams' second play from scrimmage, he pulled right and helped open a hole for running back Stephen Jackson to break open for a 33-yard run.
On the first play of the Rams' third series, Terrell pulled right again and opened a hole that Jackson burst through for a 6-yard gain.
The game remained scoreless until midway through the second quarter, when Chicago (1-1) running back Adrian Peterson broke loose for a 9-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the first half.
The Rams (1-0) tied the score on their fifth and final series of the first half. Backup quarterback Jamie Martin hit Kevin Curtis on a slant route on the right side for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
St. Louis went ahead 14-7 after scoring on its first series of the second half, a 10-play drive that covered 73 yards in 4:53. Martin hooked up with McDonald again, this time for a 5-yard touchdown pass to the right side with 10:07 left in the third quarter.
A 33-yard field goal by Hamilton gave the Rams a 17-7 lead with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter. The drive was stalled after Terrell was flagged for a false start, turning a second-and-7 from the Bears' 14 into a second-and-12 at the 19. Two plays later, the Rams had to settle for Hamilton's field goal.
The Bears cut the lead to seven with a 22-yard field goal from Nick Novak with 12:49 left in the fourth quarter. Novak connected on a 27-yard field goal with 6:21 remaining to cut the Rams' lead to 17-13.
St. Louis sealed the victory when rookie safety Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted a desperation fourth-down pass by Kurt Kittner in the end zone as the clock expired.