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Incognito hopes to cash in on opportunity
Posted on Sun, Jun. 11, 2006
He's playing left guard with first string
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Richie Incognito doesn't feel rusty even though it has been almost 2 1/2 years since he played in a football game.
Incognito, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve as he recovered from surgery on his knee cap, was working at left guard with the Rams' starting offensive line Friday during the first day of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp.
"To me, it's like getting back on a bike," Incognito said. "It's just so much fun being out here with the guys. When you're on IR, you feel like you're an outsider. You feel like you are an outsider looking in.
"You're standing on the sidelines trying to get a feel for everything. Now I'm in the locker room and the weight room with the guys. It's just great being a football player again."
Incognito's last game was Nebraska's 17-3 victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, 2003.
Incognito was kicked off the Nebraska squad before his junior season in 2004. He tried to enroll at Oregon, but he was dismissed in less than a week for violating team rules.
The Rams took Incognito with the second of two third-round picks in the 2005 NFL draft, knowing he might miss most of the 2005 season after blowing out his knee during his pro day workout.
Incognito said he hasn't been limited physically in any way over the last couple of months, which included taking part in the team's conditioning program and then light practices called organized team activities.
"I'm 100 percent," Incognito said. "I'm just waiting for pads to come on. That's the equalizer. The defensive linemen, they have the advantage right now because we don't have any surface to work on them.
"When we get those big shoulder pads on, we get to bang around a little bit."
Incognito is wearing braces on both legs during the minicamp. He said he has worn the braces for protection throughout his career.
"I have played with them my whole career," Incognito said. "I do like them. I played with them in high school and I played with them in college.
"They are not real restrictive for me because I am kind of used to them. They are career savers. I know a lot of guys who really depend on these things."
Incognito is lining up at left guard next to Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace despite Claude Terrell, who started 10 games at left guard last season, being healthy enough to practice after offseason wrist surgery.
"I definitely like left guard, playing next to Big O," Incognito said. "Big O is great. He makes my job a lot easier. Wherever I can fit in and help."
Incognito said he has leaned on veterans Adam Timmerman and Todd Steussie for advice on the proper footwork and technique.
Incognito sees the opening at starting left guard as an opportunity.
"I think coach is giving everybody a fair shot at it," Incognito said. "I am just trying to stay in the heat of the competition. I'm just trying to do my thing."
Linebacker Trev Faulk, who recently underwent back surgery, was unable to practice, while cornerback Jerametrius Butler was limited to light duty because of a small tear in his hamstring muscle suffered last month.
Quarterback Gus Frerrotte was held out of afternoon practice after experiencing back spasms.
"He's old," Rams coach Scott Linehan joked of the 34-year-old Frerrotte. "He was moving in yesterday and carrying boxes. He is old-fashioned. He was carrying them upstairs.
"His back was bothering him this morning, so we decided to hold him out this afternoon."
Re: Incognito hopes to cash in on opportunity
I love reading this, this is what we need new players all fired up for playing time . Training camp will have alot of hot competition & will bring out the best of all involved.