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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Former QB hopes to return punts
    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams rookie wide receiver and punt returner Marques Hagans said he developed his knack for making would-be tacklers miss out of a need for self-preservation.

    "It probably came out of fear most of all," Hagans said. "You're playing football for the first time and somebody is trying to hit you. My first move probably came out of fear."

    Hagans said he first realized that he could be an elusive ballcarrier as 9 year old playing in a recreation league.

    "You see a guy there, and the next second he is not there and you're still running," Hagans said. "You hear the crowd cheering, and you know you made a play."

    Hagans said playing like you have eyes in the back of your head is purely instinctive.

    "It's not something that you work on," Hagans said. "Half of the time when I do something, it's not planned. It just happens. It's like instinct. I thank God for the gift that I have, but if you freeze a play and ask me why I did something, I couldn't tell you."

    Hagans played quarterback the past two seasons at the University of Virginia, but he's hoping to make the transition to wide receiver.

    Hagans played wide receiver as an underclassmen in high school and as a sophomore in college. He caught 28 passes for 262 yards -- an average of 9.4 yards per catch -- as a sophomore for the Cavaliers.

    "It's not something that is impossible," Hagans said. "I've done it before. I think the biggest thing for me is learning the basics of route running and how to be a true receiver as opposed to just playing it for a little bit and then going back to quarterback."

    Hagans, who grew up in Hampton, Va., comes from a region that produced such sports stars as the NBA's Allen Iverson and the NFL's Michael Vick and Bruce Smith.

    "It's a small area, but it produces a lot of athletes," Hagans said. "Everybody says that there is something in the water."

    Ronald Curry, a college quarterback who has successfully made the switch to wide receiver with the Oakland Raiders, attended Hampton High School.

    "When I was a receiver in the 10th grade, he was the quarterback of the varsity team," Hagans said. "His grandma's house and my grandma's house are about three minutes apart."

    Hagans said he hoped to get in touch with Curry this summer to get some advice on making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver.

    The Rams are looking for Hagans to provide a spark to a punt return unit that has struggled since Az-Zahir Hakim left as an unrestricted free agent after the 2001 season.

    The Rams ranked 31st in punt returns in 2004 and 29th in punt returns in 2005. They've had one punt return for a touchdown -- a 78-yard return by Dre' Bly in 2002 -- over the last five seasons.

    "I can't wait," Hagans said of being a punt returner. "A lot of people don't really like returning punts, but for some strange reason, I do. I think it's easier returning punts than kickoffs. My teammates always say that I'm crazy about that. If you can make that first guy miss, there is such a window of opportunity.

    "Becoming one of the best punt returners in the league, that's my goal. If I can help my team with field position, then that's what I am going to do."

    First rounder's first practice

    Cornerback Tye Hill, the Rams' first-round pick in the 2006 NFL draft, was exhausted after his first practice of the minicamp.

    "The tempo is crazy," Hill said. "It's high tempo. I kind of expected it, but expecting it, and it actually happening is two different things. By the end of practice, I thought my lungs were going to explode."

    Hill said he plans to pace himself a little better during future practices.

    "During the walk-through, we were actually running full speed," Hill said. "We were going a little too fast a little too early, and that caused a lot of fatigue."

    Quick hits

    Rams owner Georgia Frontiere attended Saturday's afternoon practice.

    "She's been in town since the draft, though I didn't know she'd be here today," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "It was great for me to be able to introduce her to at least part of the team.

    "Georgia is such a kind-hearted person. She really cares about the players. She sent them all gifts for their mothers for Mother's Day."

    Center Mike Degory, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has opted to attend medical school rather than report to the Rams.

    "He had a change of heart," Linehan said. "He called us back and said, 'Hey, my heart is with going to med school and becoming a doctor."'


  2. #2
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    That was nice of Georgia! Wow she is really nice and a babe!

  3. #3
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Center Mike Degory, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has opted to attend medical school rather than report to the Rams.

    Wow! So I guess thats it for him or what?

  4. #4
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by .ramfan.
    Center Mike Degory, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has opted to attend medical school rather than report to the Rams.

    Wow! So I guess thats it for him or what?
    Yep. He is quiting the NFL.

  5. #5
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by .ramfan.
    Center Mike Degory, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has opted to attend medical school rather than report to the Rams.

    Wow! So I guess thats it for him or what?
    Well thats good for him. Really, he could become a distinguished doctor or surgeon, or be a league minimum benchwarmer.

  6. #6
    Bruce=GOAT's Avatar
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Who was that college player that said that returning kicks was just like running from the police? It was a couple years ago I think

  7. #7
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce=GOAT
    Who was that college player that said that returning kicks was just like running from the police? It was a couple years ago I think
    Probrably PacMan Jones. I never heard that though I'd be interested to see who said it.

  8. #8
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Good for Degory. What an inspiration. Yes, playing in the NFL is a dream for some but for him to realize that being a doctor is much more to his liking than to play in the NFL is truly an inspiration.

    There's a hero for you.

  9. #9
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    PacMan Jones is an awesome player wish he was on our team

  10. #10
    Drew4EverRams Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce=GOAT
    Who was that college player that said that returning kicks was just like running from the police? It was a couple years ago I think
    LOL LOL LOL LOL

  11. #11
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    PacMan Jones is an awesome player wish he was on our team
    You're kidding me right?

  12. #12
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by rams_fan81
    You're kidding me right?
    I hope he is. I never want PacMan on my team.

  13. #13
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    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    IMO PacMan Jones is good...... just my opinion

  14. #14
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Hagans prides himself in being elusive

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    IMO PacMan Jones is good...... just my opinion
    And a big headache. He got charges put on him this offseason ... Again.

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