Little honors brother who's serving in Iraq
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Oct. 04 2006
When Leonard Little dropped Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna on Sunday for a
first-quarter sack, the Rams' defensive end turned toward the Lions' bench --
Little normally doesn't do much after a sack. Perhaps it was an acknowledgement
of former teammate Tyoka Jackson -- now a Lion -- because Jackson usually
salutes after a sack.
Not exactly. "I knew people were going to think that," Little said.
The salute was for Little's brother, Army sergeant Lamont Hughes, who is
stationed in Iraq.
"He e-mailed me the other day and told me to salute if I got a sack, so he'll
know I'm thinking about him," Little said.
Hughes has been in Iraq for the past 11 months. He told Little that the troops
get to see some NFL games in Iraq. Last week, the Rams-Arizona game was shown,
and Hughes told his fellow soldiers that Little was his brother. They
immediately started taking interest in Rams games.
"He's got everyone over there watching our games," Little said.
Little got an e-mail from his brother Monday, telling him the Rams' 41-34
victory over Detroit also was shown to Hughes' unit. When Little got the sack,
and saluted, the soldiers went wild.
"I think about my brother all the time," Little said. "He's over there fighting
for our country. And we're over here living in the free world. I e-mail him all
the time. I talk to him every now and then."
Knowing that his brother might be watching against Detroit "gave me a little
bit more inspiration to come out and try to do it for him," Little said.
Hughes' tour is up at the end of this month. He'll then return to Fort Leonard
Wood. Little wants to get Hughes and some of the other returning soldiers in
his unit to the Rams' home game Nov. 5 against Kansas City.
In the meantime, Little hopes to be doing more sack salutes, beginning with
Sunday's game at Green Bay. Little was a force against Detroit, far beyond that
first-quarter sack -- his third of the season. He was in Kitna's hair most of
the afternoon, with seven quarterback pressures.
"He's a great pass rusher," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "He can put
pressure on almost any tackle in the league. ... He's the one guy up front that
can put some pressure on the quarterback constantly."
On one of his quarterback hits Sunday, Little hurdled Detroit running back
Kevin Jones, who was attempting a cut block, en route to Kitna. That's
something you don't see every day from a defensive end.
"I've seen it a couple of times," Haslett said. "But the great ones do that.
They have great anticipation. ... He anticipated the guy cutting and just
leaped over him."
At 6-3, 263 pounds. After that play, which came on Detroit's second possession
of the game, Haslett couldn't resist some ribbing.
"I told him, 'Don't tell me your groin is hurt,' " Haslett said.
A week earlier against Arizona, Little had missed a few plays after tweaking
On pace for his first double-digit sack season since 2003, Little has been
aided by the addition of defensive tackle La'Roi Glover. It also helps to have
a healthy left ankle for the first time in nearly a year.
Little was bothered the latter half of the 2005 season with bone spurs in the
ankle, which affected his quickness and "get-off" rushing the passer. He had
surgery in February.
"They had to shave them down to get all the debris out of my ankle," Little
said. "It (still) bothers me a little bit, but not as much as last year."
Meanwhile, Glover's work inside has made it more difficult for opposing teams
to concentrate their blocking efforts on Little.
"He demands a double-team every time," Little said. "So that leaves me on the
Sooner or later, Little wins those one-one-one matchups. Already, he rates as
one of the best Rams pass-rushers in the past quarter-century. Little, 31, has
64 regular-season sacks. Only Kevin Greene, with 72½ sacks from 1985-92, has
more sacks as a Ram since the 1982 season.
Now, if only Little can keep his helmet on. Upset over a roughing-the-passer
penalty against Detroit, Little removed his helmet while protesting. That's an
automatic 15-yard penalty.
"I lost my cool a little bit," Little said.
Because of a rule change on low hits to the quarterback, officials are keeping
a closer eye on such plays. As a result, Little may get fined by the league.
But after reviewing game tape Monday, Little still didn't think the hit on
Kitna was a penalty.
"I got pushed into the guy," Little said. "I didn't hit him low. My helmet hit
him right at the waistline. Hopefully, I won't get a fine from the league."
In a move to upgrade special teams, the Rams signed Seattle linebacker Isaiah
Kacyvenski to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Kacyvenski's release Saturday was
a surprise because he was Seattle's special-teams captain. The Rams created a
roster spot for Kacyvenski by releasing safety Dwaine Carpenter, who was
inactive for all four contests.
— Fullback Paul Smith, who suffered a concussion and head injuries against
Detroit, was out of the hospital and at Rams Park, but his status for Green Bay
Re: Little honors brother who's serving in Iraq
Nice LL ... I am sure the soliders liked that salute.
The 30 yard penalty was not called for in my mind. The officials lost control of the game at that point and gave the Lions a big push to help them score.