Linehan: Character will revive Rams
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Oct. 25 2007

Having high-character players is what will get the Rams over the hump, coach
Scott Linehan said Wednesday.

"Character, like Tony Dungy said, is going to be the reason you win in the
end," Linehan said. "So that's got to be our focus."

Dungy is head coach of the defending Super Bowl-champion Indianapolis Colts.

The day after the release of offensive guard Claude Terrell, Linehan said the
Rams are working toward that goal by taking fewer players in free agency and
the draft whose character is suspect.

"I know if you look at the way we drafted last year, and even the free agents,
that we're heading in the right direction when it comes down to those issues,"
Linehan said.

Linehan was referring to the Rams' personnel decisions this past offseason. But
the same cannot be said of Linehan's first offseason with the Rams. Free-agent
pickup Fakhir Brown, as well as draft picks Claude Wroten and Dominique Byrd,
joined the roster during Linehan's first offseason on the job.

Brown, a starting corner, and Wroten, a backup defensive tackle, both missed
four games this season due to suspensions for violating the NFL's
substance-abuse policy. Another violation of that policy will bring a one-year
suspension for Brown and Wroten.

Byrd, like Wroten, was a 2006 third-round draft pick. Byrd pled no contest to
DUI charges last week in California and received a three-year probation. He
also faces a Dec. 10 trial in St. Louis Circuit Court on charges of assault and
armed criminal action stemming from a nightclub scuffle in downtown St. Louis
in December 2006.

Under the NFL's personnel-conduct policy, Byrd could be fined, suspended or
both because of those problems. After Byrd's no contest plea to the DUI, NFL
vice president Greg Aiello said the league was monitoring his situation.

The Rams altered their approach to evaluating talent once the tougher personnel
conduct policy was instituted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last spring.
Several players were taken off the team's draft board because of character
issues, or off-the-field problems.

"We were willing to take ... an approach (that) anybody that we brought in ...
was going to be absolutely a 'no-risk' player when it came to off-field
behavior," Linehan said. "But again, that's not guaranteed.

"There are still things that happen, and have happened, and will happen to
humans after the fact. You've got to be prepared to see that coming. And then
you've also got to be prepared to do what you've got to do once guys are here."

Terrell, who is facing two felony counts of assault on a family member, was a
2005 draft pick brought in by predecessor Mike Martz and former Rams general
manager Charley Armey.

On Tuesday, Terrell was released within hours after his arrest in Texas became
public knowledge.

"The actual release of Claude was being considered even prior to this because
of some other things," Linehan said. "(Performance) being one of them, but some
of the issues that go on as far as being on time (for meetings), and making
your weight, and all those things. ... It's one of those things that until we
correct those problems, we can't take the steps that we need to take to get on
the right track here."

Linehan said he was not aware that Terrell already was on probation for a
similar assault in 2006.

"I've been made aware of it since (Tuesday's arrest) through the same ways you
have," Linehan said, referring to media reports. "It's an unfortunate thing to
happen, and the legal part of it is really not anything I'm going to get into
at this point. ... I'll let the league handle that part, and it's really no
longer going to be an issue for us because he's no longer a member of the team."

As for Terrell, he spent another day in the Harris County Jail on Wednesday.
There was a request to set bond at $25,000, but that was turned down by a
hearing officer.

He appeared at a probable-cause hearing Wednesday, where he was officially
notified of the charges against him.

jthomas@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8197