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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/16/2004
    MACOMB, Ill. - The left ankle problem cropped up in Lamar Gordon's first training camp with the Rams, in 2002. Before long, it became a recurring theme: Just when it seemed Gordon was laying the groundwork for a solid NFL career at running back, the ankle problem returned and he returned to the sideline.

    It got to the point that some questioned his durability and toughness. Count coach Mike Martz in that group.

    "I'm embarrassed and ashamed in my attitude towards him, because obviously he was in a great deal of pain," Martz said Monday. "When a guy is (complaining of pain), you've just got to trust what he's telling you. And this is one of the times in my career, I feel humiliated and feel stupid. I owe him an apology, because he certainly is very tough."

    Trouble was, several medical examinations never showed anything that could be causing the pain that Gordon said he felt.

    "We MRI-ed it. We did the X-rays. We did every diagnostic test we could," Martz said.

    Yet Gordon would complain of pain, even though there often was no swelling in the ankle. Even Gordon began to doubt himself.

    "We did all these tests, and they didn't find anything," Gordon said. "So I'm really thinking, 'I'm making this up myself.'"

    Frustration sets in

    The situation grew particularly frustrating in the current training camp.

    "It really flared up as camp went on," Gordon said. "I was watching myself on film (of practice), and I was looking terrible. I was hurting so bad, I knew something was wrong. I couldn't even take it any more."

    But finally, a bone scan was performed on the ankle, and it showed enough of an irregularity that surgery was necessary.

    What Martz called a significant bone chip was found and removed from the ankle in surgery on Aug. 10.

    To say that Gordon and the Rams were relieved to find the cause of the pain - and hopefully, eradicate it - would be big understatement.

    "I'm just excited to go through the surgery process, get this healed up, and move on and play some ball," Gordon said.

    Gordon returned to Macomb on Sunday, with his left leg encased in a small cast, and wielding a crutch to help him get around.

    "I can pretty much walk around without it, but they're worried about my ankle swelling up, and splitting the stitches," Gordon said. "Because there's no pain when I walk."

    Back by opener?

    The cast comes off Friday, after which Gordon still has about 2 1/2 weeks of rehab time before he's ready to play. So is it realistic to think he could be ready for the season opener, Sept. 12 against Arizona?

    "I think so," Gordon said. "I'm going to push myself, but at the same time, it's still surgery. You've got to let the body heal from it. It was nothing like reconstructive surgery or anything. So that's not the problem. Everything in there, I think, is fine. It's just actually the cut, and the muscle they had to go through (to remove the chip.) So I just have to let that get back strong."

    Steven Jackson and Arlen Harris have started strong in training camp. Marshall Faulk is starting to round into form. So the sooner he's back the better for Gordon, unless he wants to get buried on the depth chart.

    Facing a challenge

    Gordon, who had wrist surgery early in the offseason to repair torn ligaments, took the selection of Jackson in the first round of the draft as a challenge. A big challenge.

    Gordon might have missed his best opportunity to be Faulk's heir apparent.

    But Martz insisted Monday that Gordon can work his way back into the picture at running back.

    "Absolutely," Martz said. "He's so talented. Look back at what he's done with that bad ankle. We all got excited about him with that bad ankle. He might be pretty good without the bad ankle, don't you think?"

    Gordon finished as the Rams second-leading rusher in 2002 and last season, albeit a distant second to Faulk with 298 yards last season and 228 yards in '02. But Gordon look much more polished in '03 before aggravating - surprise - the ankle Oct. 19 against Green Bay.

    Up to that point, he looked quicker than ever, was much more patient in his run reads, and had improved noticeably in his blitz pickup.

    Who knows what lies ahead if Gordon now is truly healthy, and has two good ankles to stand on?

    "There's a moral to the story," Martz said. "You know he's got great character and he's a tough kid."

    That is something Martz probably wouldn't have said even two weeks ago, at least not wholeheartedly.

    "Like I said, I'm embarrassed to be honest with you," Martz said. "I'm embarrassed and ashamed about how I treated the situation."


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    Re: Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    Man, how often does a HC come out with something like that.

    Stand up and take a bow Mr Head Coach.

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    Re: Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    That took a lot of class and humility for Martz to publicly apologize like that.Martz takes a lot of heat from the fans and the media,but the guy deserves his props as well.I think Martz is a guy who is trying to improve his coaching every year and it also looks as if he is working on his people skills as well.
    ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

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    Re: Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    Definately a class move by Martz!

    Hats off to the coach!
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    Re: Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    "I'm embarrassed and ashamed in my attitude towards him, because obviously he was in a great deal of pain," Martz said Monday. "When a guy is (complaining of pain), you've just got to trust what he's telling you. And this is one of the times in my career, I feel humiliated and feel stupid. I owe him an apology, because he certainly is very tough."
    I was wondering whether anyone was going to touch this. Has the boy cried wolf once too often. It is courageous to offer a public retraction and I won't call into his sincerity, but I would ask you to reflect on why calling into question a person's character should represent a professional motivational technique.

    Apparently, when sMartz made the original remarks he apparently is apologizing for now, he saw no problem in basically saying: "We have subjected you to a multiplicity of exams - including the definitive MRI - and we find no scientific explanation for your complaints. Therefore, my ingrained logic dictates me to suggest you are either lying, suffering from phantom sysmptons, or just not tough enough."

    Of course the point is ... is this an epiphany for s/Martz? Might he just have realized something that can only bode well for Rams' football; or, are we just left with another sMartzism? I am ready to give sMartz more kudos and wouldn't be opposed to giving him an extension given certain circumstances, but I am just not ready to fully commit to believing that:

    Martz is a guy who is trying to improve his coaching every year and it also looks as if he is working on his people skills as well.
    But, I'm game.

  6. #6
    AugustaRamFan Guest

    Re: Martz regrets doubting RB Gordon

    Well, if MM had not been so egotistical to begin with, he would not be pulling the sneaker out of his mouth now.

    Seems that MM has a bit if a track record here...

    Gordon -
    Turley - (I'm not a huge Turley fan)
    even Faulk..

    Has he implied that any other players were "faking injury"???

    That kind of treatment can't be a real motivator for players, especially if he is wrong. Can it??

    ARF - Not a MM Fan :bored:

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