Martz expresses some doubts about Turley's health
By Bill Coats

Of the Post-Dispatch
08/01/2004





MACOMB, Ill. - As training camp grinds on, the nicks and bruises are starting to pile up. Several Rams spent at least part of the time on the sideline Saturday, as the team resumed two-a-day practices.

Other than center Dave Wohlabaugh's recovery from hip surgery, none of the injuries appear to be serious. Yet concern is surfacing about offensive tackle Kyle Turley's back, which was operated on in the offseason and kept him on the sideline for minicamp in May.

On Tuesday, shortly after the players reported to Western Illinois University, Martz scolded those who questioned Turley's fitness. "Kyle's fine. I don't know where this stuff starts," Martz said. "Kyle's injury, that's been resolved for quite some time. He looks like he's in terrific shape."

On Thursday, Martz said, Turley sat out contact drills because he has some atrophy in a leg caused by numbness from the previous disc injury. Turley participated in Friday's single, full-pads practice, but he missed most of Saturday's drills, and Martz expressed some apprehension.

"Kyle's got some strain in his back. They're going to look at it through some pictures," Martz explained. He said there were no plans to return Turley, 28, to St. Louis for evaluation but was unsure how long Turley would be out.

Others limited by minor injuries were tight end Cam Cleeland (hamstring), linebacker Tommy Polley (sprained toe), defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (back spasms), safety Rich Coady (back spasms), offensive guard Ryan Schau (sprained back) and cornerback Robert Cromartie (hamstring).

Chandler says Martz runs unique camp

Seventeen-year veteran Chris Chandler has been to training camp with eight NFL teams. But he has never seen one quite like this.

Chandler, signed as a free agent in March to back up starting quarterback Marc Bulger, said Martz "challenges everybody mentally as well. The physical part of this camp is one thing, but just all the installation at night and all the stuff we put in every day for the next practice, it's a lot more than any other place I've even been. It's as much exhausting mentally as it is physically."

Which is saying a lot, because other than 42-year-old punter Sean Landeta, Chandler, 38, is the oldest among the 80 players in camp at Western Illinois University. Still, after four days of vigorous workouts, the 6-foot-4, 224-pound University of Washington product is showing no signs of advanced age. He has also proved that there's plenty of strength left in his arm.

Though Chandler is learning a new offensive system, Martz said he is adapting quickly. "You know that most everything you do with him, he's going to be able to absorb and retain," Martz said. "He's a quick study, where he doesn't need a whole lot of reps."

Training camp, Chandler said, "is always something that's fun as a challenge more than anything else, to make it through another one, to go out there when you're tired and you're sore and it's 7:30 in the morning. That challenge, at the end of camp, makes you feel pretty good about yourself."

The most difficult aspect, he said, is being separated from wife Diane and daughters Ryann Mae, 9, and Skye, 7, for 3 1/2 weeks. "I miss them a lot," Chandler said. "My daughters had their final swim meet, and my 7-year-old didn't understand why I couldn't be there."