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Thread: Iron Man
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
As a seventh-round draft pick from South Dakota State, Adam Timmerman was merely trying to survive his first NFL training camp in 1995 with Green Bay.
"I remember saying to people, 'I'm going to try to make the team,'" Timmerman recalled Thursday. "And after that it was like, 'If I could just play for a few years, I'll be doing pretty good.' You kind of blink and all of a sudden. . . ."
All of a sudden, you're playing in your 200th NFL game. Timmerman, who has played for the Rams since 1999, will reach that milestone Sunday in San Diego. Even more impressive is the fact that Timmerman has played the last 197 games in a row.
"That's true Iron Man," Rams teammate La'Roi Glover said. "Especially in the trenches. To put together a streak like that and never miss a game, from a peer standpoint, I look up to a guy like that."
Timmerman's streak includes 179 regular-season games and 20 postseason games. The NFL record books recognize only regular-season contests in terms of iron-man streaks. Even so, Timmerman's 179 is second only to Will Shields' 214 among current NFL offensive linemen.
As a Packers rookie, Timmerman played the first two games of the season on special teams. He was inactive for the next three games. But on Oct. 15 of that season, he returned to action in Game 6 against Detroit. And hasn't missed a game since.
"That's impressive," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "I didn't know that. But it doesn't surprise me. Guys like him, he's a little 'old school.' Offensive linemen usually get nicked up at some time during their career where they can't play."
The closest Timmerman came to missing a game was a memorable 2000 contest in Kansas City, when an errant snap from backup center Steve Everitt resulted in a broken pinky finger for quarterback Kurt Warner.
Everitt was starting at center because regular center Andy McCollum started at right guard. McCollum was at right guard because Timmerman was on the bench with a sprained knee ligament.
"I remember warming up, trying to figure out if I could go or not," Timmerman said. "I was like, 'Man, this doesn't feel good.'"
Timmerman didn't start, but with the knee heavily wrapped and braced, he suited up. The plan was to use him only in an emergency.
"Well, then we actually had a couple guys get hurt," Timmerman said.
So he ended up playing a few snaps in the game, which kept his consecutive-games streak going at 95.
He also had a near miss last season before the Rams' Nov. 20 home game against Arizona because of a disc problem in his back.
The back problems typified a tough 2005 season. He missed most of the offseason program leading up to the season because of surgery on a foot and both shoulders. He also had a knee injury but opted against knee surgery. The foot bothered him much of '05, and his play wasn't up to its usual standards.
"That was really hard," Timmerman said. "That's probably what led to me thinking about retirement. Because if you don't feel good, it's really hard to get out there and play on Sunday. . . . Looking back on it, maybe I would've been smarter to sit the year out and really get healed up, because my foot didn't feel great."
Timmerman talked to his wife about retiring during the offseason and had a long talk with Linehan on the same subject.
"He was contemplating it then," Linehan said. "But something told him he wanted to stay with it, and we're certainly glad he did, because he's helping us make the transition we need to make. We know he isn't going to be able to play forever. At some point, there's got to be a strategy to have someone in his place."
Just not right now.
"We're really happy with what he's been able to do," Linehan said. "He's been playing real solid. And it's really nice to have his leadership as well."
Timmerman, 35, has had "only" six surgeries during his NFL career. But four have come in the last two seasons. So he has started taking better care of himself. Within the last year, his new regimen has included massages, regular visits to the chiropractor and offseason yoga.
Yes, yoga. It has improved Timmerman's flexibility. He also has gone to a more healthy diet.
"I have been feeling really good," Timmerman said. "I've been happy with my play and all that. Hopefully, the coaches are, too."
Re: Iron Man
Does anyone have the stats on how many sacks have been charged to each O-lineman this year? I know these kind of stats are usually kind of unofficial, but I am just curious to see where we (and the rest of the league) are at this point.
Good article as always Wraith.
Re: Iron ManHe also had a near miss last season before the Rams' Nov. 20 home game against Arizona because of a disc problem in his back. -- J.Thomas
That is IRONMAN alright. Right up there with other Ram OL/DL greats such as...
Tom Mack (184 consecutive games);
Merlin Olsen (played in 208 games);
Jack Youngblood (a record 201 consecutive games);
Jackie Slater (played 259 games in 20 seasons, incredible!) ... all HOFamers.
Other Ram OL Ironmen were Joe Scibelli and Charlie Cowan, each having played 15 seasons (even at 14 games per season, that's a lot of football). The Herculean Dennis Harrah, 13 years with us.
That's a lot of deep trench digging, that takes some doing! :r
As for Timmerman's more healthy diet, I wonder what kind of doughnuts are on the menu.
Last edited by RealRam; -10-27-2006 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Correction on OL/DL
Re: Iron Man
If he isn't an Iron Man then it doesn't exist. He is constantly willing to fight through the pain to play every down for this team. Even when he is injured he has that look in his eye of help me back up, because I'm playing the rest of the game. He is the selfless kind of leader that you want to build your team around. I would take him any day of the week.