Making The Cut ...
Making the cut: A rookie's journey
By Kathleen Nelson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Jun. 22 2006
Almost two months removed from draft day, seventh-round pick Tony Palmer has
learned about life on the field and in the weight room of an NFL team. Much of
the heavy lifting remains, though, on his journey to make the Rams' roster for
Palmer earned a degree in general studies in December from the University of
Missouri, but that doesn't mean he's finished with the classroom. In addition
to studying the playbook and learning the finer points of footwork from the
offensive line coaches, Palmer and the rest of the rookies must learn life
School was in session last week. After morning workouts, the rookies became the
responsibility of Ray Ogas, the Rams' director of player programs, in rookie
"They've got to learn how to be a professional," Ogas said. "This is a job now.
It's still fun, but they have to take responsibility for themselves. It's up to
them how far they want to go."
Among the sessions the rookies attended were the following:
Dennis Golden, president of Fontbonne University, spoke on the benefits and
how-to's of continuing their education.
Attorneys Scott Rosenblum and John Rogers dealt with legal issues.
A financial planner discussed savings, credit and investing.
St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus urged them to steer clear of his
jurisdiction, which includes the area's exotic dance clubs.
A panel of their veteran teammates, including Steven Jackson, Todd Steussie and
Adam Timmerman, discussed dealing with stress, family relations and celebrity
Palmer had trouble choosing a favorite session, though he said, "Each day was
definitely something different. The speakers make you realize you have so many
things to worry about: Housing, bank accounts, all the distractions. They've
been really helpful."
Even before rookie school, Ogas helped prepare the rookies for NFL life in
smaller ways. He helped them fill out a credit report, so they could learn
their credit score. He went over their first paycheck with each of them, so
they understood deductions.
"They're amazed at where the money goes," he said.
And he brings in men's clothiers that cater to large sizes.
"Some of these guys have never owned a business suit before," Ogas said. "We
have a dress code, so they have to look professional when we travel."
The draft choices, including Palmer, get further instruction on life as a pro
from a similar, though more intense, program conducted by the NFL beginning
Sunday through June 28 in San Diego. From there, the group disperses and will
be on their own with the playbook and workouts. Strength and conditioning coach
Dana LeDuc has developed a program for each of the rookies that will take them
to the day they return to Rams Park for training camp in late July. Palmer, for
example, arrived at rookie minicamp in mid-May at 336 pounds. LeDuc has set a
goal of 325.
"This is a very powerful young man," LeDuc said. "It's one thing to be
powerful, another to apply that power. We have to get him to a weight where he
can apply all that power."
Palmer said he hadn't decided whether to work out in Columbia after rookie
school or to visit Velocity Sports Performance in Naples, Fla., where he
trained before the draft. LeDuc said it didn't matter, "as long as he stays
with the training and understands where we want him to be."
Someday soon, that might be setting records. Former tight end Ernie Conwell
holds the Rams' record for bench press at 500 pounds, but LeDuc said Palmer and
second-year defensive lineman Jeremy Calahan are closing in.
"Tony's been a welcome addition," LeDuc said. "He's doing great. He's a hard
worker and very coachable."
Though LeDuc and the rest of the coaching staff are looking forward to a couple
weeks off, Palmer said he couldn't afford the luxury.
"This is my job now," he said. "I'm here to make the team, and I'm going to do
everything I can. One of the main things, what a lot of veterans told me, is to
keep working hard. That's what I'll do."
Sounds as if he's been well-schooled.
Re: Making The Cut ...
500 pounds on the bench for ernie conwell? That is amazing, considering its almost double his body weight. I really cant believe it. So much for massey holding the rams bench press record.
ramming speed to all