Saturday, January 13, 2007

By Nick Wagoner
Senior Writer

Torry Holtís streak of six consecutive 1,300 receiving yard seasons came to an end in 2006. Now, another streak is over because of a knee injury.

Holt was slated to head to Hawaii for his sixth Pro Bowl and fourth in a row at the beginning of February, but while he could still attend the NFLís annual all-star game, he will not be able to suit up as he ponders the options for his injured knee.

Detroit receiver Roy Williams was announced as Holtís replacement for the Pro Bowl on Friday afternoon.

Holt injured the knee on a touchdown catch against Arizona on Dec. 3. On the play, it appeared that Holt landed awkwardly on the knee, then it worsened in the excitement following the play.

Although he spent most of the final few weeks listed as probable on the injury report, Holt played through the pain and finished out the season healthy enough to suit up every week and still have an impact.

Now, Holt faces a difficult decision on what he will do about the injured knee in the offseason. Should Holt opt for surgery, it wonít be anything major, rather it would likely be of the arthroscopic variety. The always upbeat and optimistic Holt doesnít believe that any procedure would be the type that could keep him down for a long period of time.

ďI have a lot of stuff that I need to make decisions about fairly quick, but I do like the fact that I can take it at a controlled pace and get done what I need to get done,Ē Holt said. ďI think by having an injury like this before, I would say that it is cartilage. I donít think itís anything thatís going to end me. I think itís just going to take some minor things to go in, punch a couple of holes in, straighten some things out, and let me get back to those hills and back to playing football. Iím looking forward to making this decision, relaxing, and enjoying í07.Ē

Some good old rest and relaxation could be just what the doctor ordered for Holt, who has been one of the driving forces of the Rams dynamic offense for the better part of his career.

Holt has long been one of the NFLís most active players in the offseason. He has become somewhat of a draftnik after doing some work for ESPN and has gotten more involved in it since the arrival of noted draft fan Corey Chavous. He has also done commentary in the Super Bowl.

This year, though, Holt thinks he might lay low for a while.

ďRight now, my gut feeling is I wonít do any media stuff and just step back and just enjoy Torry for a little bit and my family,Ē Holt said. ďI havenít really had a chance to do a lot of that for awhile. So I have always been trying to jump into new things, see what I like, what I donít like, who likes me, who doesnít like me. So right now I think I will take a little time for Torry and just relax.Ē

While Holt didnít quite meet his goals (he did go over 90 catches and had 10 touchdowns, but finished with 1,188 receiving yards), he was still a major part of the offense. Nobody will soon forget his miraculous 67-yard touchdown catch in the first meeting against Seattle.

But Holt is the first to admit that he hit some rough patches as well. He dropped a few balls that he normally catches with ease and missed some opportunities for big plays that almost certainly would have put him at 1,300 yards.

ďI thought I played fairly well,Ē Holt said. ďI had some opportunities that I missed that I donít miss. Itís rare. I can count on my fingers how many opportunities that I blow. Statistically, people probably say that I didnít match what I did last year, and I didnít.Ē

Still, Holt believes his season was good enough that he has a future in the league.

ďIn other areas of my game I feel like I got better,Ē Holt said. ďI got better as a leader, I got better in blocking on the perimeter, and I got better in knowing situations thanks to Coach (Scott) Linehan. Overall, looking at my game, I feel like Iíve grown. I didnít take any steps back. Going into next year with some tune-ups can be a 1,300-yard season, which will be my goal again, with 90-plus catches and 10-plus touchdowns. Hopefully from a statistical standpoint, I will feel like Iíve arrived in the league.Ē

Of course, Holt arrived in the league a long time ago, now itís a matter of getting his health back to the point where it will enable him to get his statistics back where they belong, making a drive for another Pro Bowl berth and, most important, getting the Rams back to the playoffs.

After the Rams won three in a row to end the season, Holt believes that should happen sooner than later.

ďIím really excited about how we finished as a football team,Ē Holt said. ďObviously, youíre hoping that it gives you some momentum into the offseason and the new season and finish a lot better in í07 than we did this year. Thatís what Iím excited about and I think this football team is. The players have mentioned that and I think the coaches feel the same way, too. I think itís going to be a very good í07. I think weíll all have something to smile about.Ē