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Martz: 'I don't know' if can coexist with Rams' prez
ST. LOUIS -- A day after announcing he'd miss the rest of the season with a heart infection, St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz harshly criticized team management and said he didn't know if he could coexist with the team's president of football operations.
Jay Zygmunt, the team's second-highest ranking official, stopped a representative for Martz at the door of the coaches' booth during Sunday's game against the Saints. The representative, team director of security Dan Linza, had been trying to bring a cell phone to offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild so Martz could talk to him from his home.
Zygmunt brought Linza to team president John Shaw, who decided against having an "open phone line" in the booth.
The confrontation brought to a head once again the team's front office power struggle. Martz has long been at odds with Zygmunt and general manager Charlie Armey, and he told radio station KSLG that he didn't know whether he and Zygmunt could coexist if he returned to coach the team next year.
"That's a personal question that I'm not really prepared to answer," Martz said. "There is a lot of history there. From a business standpoint, yes. From a personal standpoint, I don't know. There have been just too many things that have happened."
Martz had been in telephone contact from his home with Fairchild before and during halftime of a 28-17 victory over the Saints.
"I was very, very angry to say the least," Martz told the radio station. "I don't understand why that happened, what the whole thought process was. And if they had an issue with that why didn't they tell me ahead of time?"
Martz said he wasn't trying to interfere, just to help a young coach.
"There are some things as a playcaller that you need to look for," Martz said. "Those are the things I try to talk to those coaches about."
Martz admitted the impasse might be partly his fault, too, the result of strong wills clashing.
"My personality, I'm not the easiest person to get along with," he said. "My whole deal is to make this a better organization. As I tell our players and our coaches, everything we do we are trying to do the right thing.
"It's hard thing to do, but it's easy to say."
The Rams (3-4) will play their third game without the 54-year-old Martz on Sunday against the Jaguars. Joe Vitt, the linebackers coach and assistant head coach, has been named interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Martz expects to coach the team next season and could return to duty as soon as January. But he said Monday that he won't interfere with the team any more this season.
"I've got to divorce myself of this," he said Monday. "I'd become a distraction for them. They need to go and do this job and use their judgment."
The organization's stance appears to be that Martz, 57-37 as head coach in six seasons counting the postseason, will not be fired.
Next year would be the final year of a three-year contract for Martz, who helped the Rams win their first Super Bowl as offensive coordinator after the 1999 season and led them to another Super Bowl in 2001.
Martz told the radio station he talked with owner Georgia Frontiere before the season and said she told him he could be the head coach "as long as you want."
Zygmunt has been working on a month-to-month basis since last season.
Re: Martz: 'I don't know' if can coexist with Rams' prezMartz told the radio station he talked with owner Georgia Frontiere before the season and said she told him he could be the head coach "as long as you want."