Kyle Boller embraces change
BY Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The plan was in place. Kyle Boller was going to cook chicken cheese enchiladas last Thursday night for his girlfriend. He was just about to leave for the grocery store when his agent called.
"The Rams called. You've got to be on the plane in an hour."
Dinner can wait.
Boller hopped a plane from his hometown of San Diego and headed to Rams Park. He arrived in St. Louis on Thursday night, the first day of the Rams' three-day minicamp. He had a private workout for the team in the indoor facility at Rams Park on Friday. And on Saturday, he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Just like that, the former first-round pick by Baltimore in 2003 had a new NFL home.
"I was happy to get the call from St. Louis because I know my agent had talked to them early on (in free agency)," Boller said Tuesday. "Then the whole Gus Frerotte thing happened, so I really thought that they were out (of consideration)."
For weeks, Frerotte looked like a sure thing in St. Louis. But the Rams grew tired of waiting on Frerotte — he may not have been ready to practice because of a relatively minor knee problem. So the Rams did a quick 180 in Boller's direction.
During his two-plus days in St. Louis over the weekend, Boller said, "I got a good vibe here from a lot of the players. I know Steven Jackson from the Pac 10, and Richie (Incognito) has the same agent as me. You go to a certain place and you get that feeling you're wanted, you're welcomed."
Boller was even welcomed by center Jason Brown, who raised eyebrows after signing with the Rams by saying Boller became "gun-shy" during their tenure together with the Ravens. Brown's remarks were said in the context of the importance of pass protection, and the fact that quarterbacks who take too many hits can get gun-shy.
Even so, Boller admitted he was upset at first when he read Brown's remarks. And he joked that when he arrived at Rams Park last week, Brown "was surprised to see me."
Boller said he got a bunch of texts from friends and teammates when Brown first made his gun-shy comments back on Feb. 28.
"But I talked to Jason," Boller said. "I've been with Jason for the last four years (in Baltimore), and I don't have a bad thing to say about him. I think if you talked to him, we've never had any problems. So we cleared that up right away. It wasn't a big issue at all."
So was Boller indeed gun-shy in the pocket in Baltimore?
"No. I don't think so at all," he said. "I've never had anybody tell me I was gun-shy before. I'm not afraid to go back there and throw that thing."
Boller, who says he's "110 percent" recovered from shoulder surgery last September, realizes what his role is in St. Louis as Marc Bulger's backup.
"At my position, you just never know," Boller said. "If some guy goes down, you've got to be ready to be a No. 1. I'm going to do anything I can just to help this team go in the right direction and win some football games."
And after six up-and-down seasons with the Ravens, he's up for something new.
"I'm ready for a fresh start," Boller said. "I could've gone back to Baltimore. But with the situation and stuff, I was just ready to get out of there. I was ready for a clean start, new faces, new places — everything."
Re: Kyle Boller embraces change
They say one of the most important things a QB has to have is a comfort level with the Center. Seeing how he and Brown already played together, if Bulger goes down at least the exchange shouldn't be an issue.