By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Dec. 07 2004

Try as they might, the Rams simply can't get rid of Jamie Martin.

"I'm not giving you a quote on that," Martin said Tuesday, smiling.

Since being signed by the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted rookie out of Weber
State in 1993, Martin has been released by the franchise four times.

He was with the club for most of the period from 1993 through 1996, appearing
in only six regular-season games - all in '96 - and throwing only 34 passes.
That included being cut twice in 1994. He also was cut after the 1997
preseason, losing out in the battle for a backup job.

He returned to the Rams in 2001 and 2002, appearing in five games for the Rams
in '02, including two starts, throwing 195 passes.

And now he returns. With Marc Bulger nursing a shoulder injury, and the Rams
very much in a pennant race despite their modest 6-6 record, Martin has been
signed as quarterback insurance for Chris Chandler.

Martin, 34, hasn't been on an NFL roster since October 2003 with the New York
Jets. He hasn't thrown a regular-season pass since the '02 season finale with
the Rams.

But if something should happen to Chandler on Sunday in Carolina, Martin could
be next up. Provided, that is, he can get sufficiently re-immersed in the St.
Louis offense.

"We'll see how it goes this week," Martin said. "Mentally, I went over the
stuff (Tuesday) and it's pretty similar. I'm obviously almost two years out of
this offense. Last year, I was in a West Coast-offense type of thing.

"It's kind of like translating everything back into this language. But we'll
see how it goes in practice and the meetings and everything. I think a few days
would be good enough."

Martin has continued to live in St. Louis even after his release by the club
following the 2002 season.

"When I left the Rams the last time, we decided to stay in St. Louis until I
was done playing officially," Martin said. "Even though I went to New York last
year, we kept our place here. My son Jack started school here, kindergarten in
the fall."

Martin and his wife, Kelly, basically had decided that if he couldn't get back
into the NFL this season, he would retire. As each week went by and Martin's
phone didn't ring, it looked as if it was time for life after football.

Then Bulger went down with a bone bruise in his throwing shoulder against San
Francisco, and the Rams called Monday.

"How this changes anything, I don't know," Martin said. "It probably doesn't
change much. We'll probably still be looking at next year as kind of being
done."

But who knows?

"Just when you get it figured out, something happens that you haven't seen
before," Martin said. "I'm just happy to be with these guys. It's good to step
into a system I know, and hopefully, I can help out in some way."

Martin joined Glen Echo Country Club and played golf there almost every day
this past summer. His handicap is down to about a 7 or 8. As for football, he
has tried to stay in "functional" shape.

"I've been keeping myself ready," he said. "I throw a little bit here and
there. There's a couple guys I hook up with - just guys I met along the way."

But not professional pass catchers.

"I've been throwing the ball in the NFL for 10 years," Martin said. "I know how
to throw the ball. But just getting the timing down, I haven't been throwing to
Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt."

That changes this afternoon at Rams Park. Martin happened to be watching the
Rams game Sunday when Bulger got hurt.

"I separated my shoulder here in 2002, so I knew that could be an issue for a
few weeks," Martin said. "So I was thinking they might try to get hold of me.

"I'd known all along that if something happened, there was a chance that Mike
(Martz) would call me up."

Martin realizes his stay may be short. There's a chance the Rams could carry an
extra quarterback for the rest of this season. But he might be released as soon
as Bulger is healthy enough to play again.

"I've been released a lot," Martin said. "I mean, everybody gets released at
some point. It's just part of the deal sometimes. You don't take it personal."