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Thread: "Handy Andy"
Handy Andy: McCollum is Rams' versatile veteran
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Nov. 25 2007
Rookie Dustin Fry shook his head when he pondered the career longevity of
fellow offensive lineman Andy McCollum, who is in his 14 NFL season.
"That's unfathomable to me," said Fry, who then did the math: "Four years,
that's a whole other college thing," he continued. "So 14 years, that's three
more college terms plus two years. It's hard to think of right now, when I'm in
my fourth month and just trying to survive."
Survivor is an appropriate way to describe McCollum, at 37 years, 5 months, 23
days the oldest player on the Rams' roster. He's been knocked down plenty of
times — most recently in training camp when Brett Romberg beat him out for the
first-team job at center.
Still, McCollum — who started 104 consecutive games from 2000 through the '06
opener — just keeps coming back.
"Andy's a warrior," Romberg said. "Obviously 14 years in the NFL takes a toll
on you, so I imagine he doesn't have the pop that he used to have back in the
day. But he still can run block, still can pass block, moves his feet well and
is very smart."
Which is a good thing for the Rams, who have been forced to shuffle offensive
linemen all season because of a raft of injuries. Veteran Todd Steussie
returned this week from preseason foot surgery and is expected to start at
right guard Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Edward Jones Dome.
That would mark the 16th line combination overall, and eighth different
starting group. "It's a crazy amount of injuries," McCollum said. "I've never
seen so many guys go down."
After spending the first month on the sideline, McCollum moved back into the
lineup, at left guard, vs. Arizona on Oct. 7 — two weeks after Mark Setterstrom
suffered a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve.
"You never know," said McCollum, who hadn't played guard since 2003. "You've
got to be ready to move around."
Three weeks later, after Romberg was injured, McCollum was back at center,
where he's started the last three games. "He's basically defying all the odds
and logic for a guy at his age to still be playing at the level he's playing,"
McCollum's 2006 season lasted 1½ quarters. A Denver Broncos defender fell into
McCollum's left leg, tearing two ligaments in the knee. He underwent surgery
Oct. 24 and then began the painful and tedious task of rehabbing.
After some initial thoughts of retirement, McCollum decided that he'd be back
"I didn't want to go out that way," he explained.
By the time the Rams wrapped up their first season under coach Scott Linehan,
McCollum was convinced that he'd been as good as new.
"Once we got through the surgery and into the rehab, the knee felt great," he
said. "In fact, after all that rehab, I think this (left) leg is stronger than
it's probably ever been."
McCollum's play hasn't weakened noticeably, either.
"Andy's as stable as they come … a true pro," Linehan said. "He's been put into
the position now where he's back being the leader of the group, and he's doing
a great job with it. Guys respond to him."
During his 12-game foray at center last year, Richie Incognito — normally a
guard — enlisted McCollum's help.
"I leaned on him a lot and I learned a lot: footwork, hand placement, making
calls," Incognito said. "A lot of little stuff that makes him what he is."
Said Fry: "I've watched Andy constantly; it's kind of like, 'Wow, I've got a
long way to go.' But it's helped me a lot. He'll pull me aside and tell me how
to do things. … It's kind of like having your own personal coach."
So maybe coaching is McCollum's next vocation. Or maybe not. In any case, he
won't contemplate his future as a player until after the season, when his
contract with the Rams expires.
McCollum's close friend, guard Adam Timmerman, was released in February. It was
an unpleasant decision for Linehan and a bitter way for Timmerman to end a
distinguished 12-year career.
Still, McCollum has noticed that retirement suits Timmerman. "He's doing good,"
McCollum said. "He taking care of the family, spending more time with the kids.
He's getting straight with all his farm work. He's got all kinds of things
McCollum and wife Christy have four children: Drew, 9; Jake, 5; twins Avery and
Lilly; and Hannah 1. The roughest part about being a pro athlete, McCollum has
said, is being away from his kids.
"You always want to be home with them, even when they're younger," he said.
"They just keep my wife busier now."
Family … friends … health … desire … the Rams' success over the final five
games. … All will play a role in McCollum's decision whether to return — here
or elsewhere — for his 15th season.
"After so many years, you just take one year at a time," he said. "I think the
main thing is, see how my body feels. I don't what to overdo it and not be able
to walk when I'm 60.
"I'm feeling good so far, so we'll see what happens."
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Re: "Handy Andy"
I think its safe to say, that just about all of us would happily take Andy back for another year.
Re: "Handy Andy"
yep...i hope the coaching staff have learnt their lesson this year about depth on the O-line....also good to hear Timmerman is having fun, now hes out of the game!
sure could still do with him tho....
Last edited by Drew; -11-24-2007 at 10:23 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: "Handy Andy"
For now, however, I'm sure glad he's in there! Having him and Steussie playing together provides leadership and incentive for the rest of our unstable OL that has gone through -- or keeps going through -- way too many changes and variations.
Okay, who's it going to be Vs. Squawks this Sunday?
LT -- Alex Barron (I hope the kink he had in his neck is gone)
LG -- Andy McCollum. Go Andeeee!
C -- Brett Romberg (trainers, do a good job taping his feet)
RG -- Todd Steussie. Stay healthy, go strong!
RT -- Brandin Gorin. Do your darndest best!
Dustin Fry on standby at G/C. Welcome to the NFL.
Have a great outing this time, i.e., keep those pesky birds out! :bash:
-11-24-2007 #5Registered User
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Re: "Handy Andy"
Despite all of the shifts in the O-line, Adam hasn't been contacted by the Rams. Quite honestly, at this point in time, I hope they don't contact him. The Timmermans are moving in a different direction and they are fortunate with their lives. The thing that sucks is how Adam was treated when he was cut by the Rams. Sure, he didn't want to be cut...nobody does. Linehan could have use more tact and sensitivity is making the cut.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Re: "Handy Andy"