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Martz denied chance to call play from homeESPN.com
Updated: Oct. 24, 2005, 3:26 PM ET
St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz tried to relay a play-call suggestion during Sunday's victory over the New Orleans Saints, but was rebuffed by president of football operations Jay Zygmunt, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Rams president John Shaw, however, told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that it was he, not Zygmunt, who denied coach Martz's attempt to send plays via a messenger into the coaches' box.
"Jay brought [the messenger] to me -- I was two boxes away -- and asked me to decide on this," Shaw said. "I think I did what anybody in that position would do -- I told him no. Mike had spoken to [offensive coordinator] Steve Fairchild before the game and at halftime. Mike is on leave for medical reasons ... think about it."
Shaw admitted he was "infuriated" that the incident became public. A Rams source told Mortensen that it was Martz who initiated a telephone discussion after the game with the reporter, Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch, who broke the story. Neither Martz nor Thomas were immediately available for comment.
Martz, who's home resting and receiving treatment for a bacterial infection of the heart valve, tried to suggest a play through a team official for offensive coordinator Fairchild to run in New Orleans territory. That official, the paper reported, was denied access to the coaching booth.
Should Mike Martz be allowed to call plays from home?
Martz did make a surprise visit to the team on Saturday for their 8 a.m. meeting.
"I was shocked," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson told the paper.
"Everybody was kind of looking around the room," safety Mike Furrey told the Post-Dispatch. "And then you hear this voice as he comes in. ... It was great to see Coach Martz."
The visit is believed to be Martz' first since Oct. 10, when he left for the hospital with a bacterial infection of the heart valve.
"He looked a lot better," Jackson told the paper. "He told us he was going to get some tests, and he said he felt better."
Martz only spoke to the team for a few minutes and hasn't been seen by the players since.