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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    As Andy McCollum limped off the field early in the season opener against Denver last year, the thought crossed his mind that it might be his last time on an NFL playing field.

    “I thought of that a little bit when I was walking off the field there, but I was ticked off at the time because they wouldn’t let me go back out there,” McCollum said. “But I figured I had to come back, I’m not going to let it finish on this crappy note.”

    That crappy note was a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee suffered in the season’s opening moments. At 36, an injury like that usually spells the end of a career.

    But McCollum couldn’t really fathom the thought of having to make his NFL exit after 13 seasons without going on his own terms.

    Fast forward to the opening of the team’s full squad minicamp opening Tuesday afternoon and there was McCollum lining up in his usual center spot with the first-team offense. Of course, McCollum wasn’t the only center taking repetitions with the first team offense.

    Brett Romberg, who filled in at the end of the season and did an admirable job in McCollum’s place, is splitting the time with the “ones,” at least for now and probably through training camp.

    “They finished well (with Romberg), certainly the group that finished the season played very well,” coach Scott Linehan said. “But Andy is back and when we put the pads on and start training camp there will be center competition there.”

    The fact that McCollum is back and ready to compete is a testament to the toughness of one of the true warriors on the Rams’ roster. Considering the amount of change since McCollum last lined up on the field, it would have been easy for McCollum to simply walk away after suffering such a devastating injury.

    McCollum did his best to stay involved with the team while he was hurt. He helped instruct his original replacement, Richie Incognito, and later Romberg on some of the finer points of playing center in the league.

    And it was obviously hard for McCollum to handle not being on the field every day and being forced to watch his teammates go to work without him. Of course, he had close friend and teammate Adam Timmerman to lean on when things got tough.

    Still, other than the initial reaction to the injury, McCollum never considered walking away.

    “For me, it wasn’t really that bad,” McCollum said. “It was just tedious to rehab every day and try to be able to get on the field and when you are separated from the team that kind of thing.”

    It didn’t hurt that McCollum took a different approach to surgery than many of the players that have suffered the same injuries. Instead of immediately having surgery on the knee, he waited about six weeks.

    The additional time allowed the knee to heal some, particularly the MCL and bring the swelling down. That helped to expedite the recovery process once McCollum had the surgery.

    McCollum then began the long road back to the field through rehabilitation. He spent his time doing the same workout over and over. He eventually grew tired of the workout, but when signs of improvement came, that was all he needed to know he made the right decision to return.

    Just as McCollum was close to getting back to a sense of normalcy in his football career, a Rams’ roster move took him by surprise. The team released Timmerman early in the offseason, a move McCollum didn’t see coming.

    “It’s strange, not just on the field but around the locker room and that kind of thing with seeing him every day,” McCollum said. “It stinks not having him around. He’s good to have around; he’s a great guy to have on your team. (But) that’s how this business works.”

    But McCollum had no time to worry about his friend because he was spending his time rehabing and trying to get back in the mix in time for the offseason programs.

    McCollum was officially cleared to return to the practice field just before the beginning of organized team activities and has been in full action since that time. After spending the initial part of his return knocking off some rust, he says he has returned to near full strength and will not be limited at all in this week’s minicamp.

    Although the old adage says you can’t lose your job to injury, McCollum acknowledges the competition between he and Romberg for the starting position. And that doesn’t even include the possibility of rookie Dustin Fry getting involved.

    While McCollum could easily focus solely on winning the job, he knows that a big part of his job is setting an example and helping the younger players. That’s a job he takes seriously, just like his own.

    “It has been that way every year, I feel like,” McCollum said. “You have to go out there, not just me, but you have to go out there and prove yourself every year and make sure you show that you are that guy for that job. I’m approaching it just the same as every other year.”

    McCollum is unsure whether 2007 will be his final season. Some of that decision will depend on how well he performs and where he lands on the depth chart when the season begins, but for now McCollum is just trying to improve and he believes he can be better than ever.

    “I think if anything I try to improve every year and there’s stuff you can learn every year and try to get better at,” McCollum said. “And I think if anything I am better than I was.”


  2. #2
    badmoforamfan's Avatar
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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Tuesday, June 12, 2007


    “It’s strange, not just on the field but around the locker room and that kind of thing with seeing him every day,” McCollum said. “It stinks not having him around. He’s good to have around; he’s a great guy to have on your team. (But) that’s how this business works.”
    I'm conflicted..On one hand I was all for the youth movement and on the other hand I am wishing Adam T. was still on the team.

  3. #3
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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Although the old adage says you can’t lose your job to injury, McCollum acknowledges the competition between he and Romberg for the starting position. And that doesn’t even include the possibility of rookie Dustin Fry getting involved.

    While McCollum could easily focus solely on winning the job, he knows that a big part of his job is setting an example and helping the younger players. That’s a job he takes seriously, just like his own.
    You gotta love this guy.

  4. #4
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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Quote Originally Posted by badmoforamfan View Post
    You gotta love this guy.
    Absolutely. McCollum is the consumate professional and team player. His presence makes the Rams better in so many ways.

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Indeed R8rh8rmike, consumate professional is right. :bash:

    Andy may not bring starter attributes to the 2007 lineup (or may!)... but he certainly gives coaches and many a fan peace of mind as a solid veteran backup who truly cares about the team and about the rookies to mentor.

    Best wishes to the old warrior for a healthy, strong year.

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    i dont know if Andy McCollum will ever make it to Canton,but ya gotta love the man who has the heart for the team/game that he has,IMHO he should be there ahead of quite a few i could mention,including some that are already in the Hall of Fame!

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    I hope Andy wins his job back. To have him in the middle leading the youngsters in each side would only improve the effectiveness of the O line.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68 View Post
    I hope Andy wins his job back. To have him in the middle leading the youngsters in each side would only improve the effectiveness of the O line.
    RM68, I agree with the sentiment. However, I have to say I hope he doesn't win his job back. I am looking forward to either Romberg or Fry being an upgrade from the 37-year-old McCollum.

    But the sentiment I understand. It's hard not to root for an old warrior.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    RM68, I agree with the sentiment. However, I have to say I hope he doesn't win his job back. I am looking forward to either Romberg or Fry being an upgrade from the 37-year-old McCollum.

    But the sentiment I understand. It's hard not to root for an old warrior.
    I understand, but what I meant is IF he outplays Romberg......... I can't see Fry starting seeing as he will have a lot to learn.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    Barring injury i dont see Fry getting a look in at C not for a year or two anyway due to the leadership skills required for the position and the fact that Fry is a Rookie will probaby mean he will be more affective at G till he is more seasoned in the NFL to be able to lead the line ,i see him more likely getting some time as back up to `cogs or possibly LG in Goal line situations if as he may prove to be ,more of a short yardage mauler than Setterstrom!
    Last edited by Drew; -06-13-2007 at 05:35 PM.

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    Re: McCollum Out to Prove Himself Again

    AM will still be much needed in the rotation! Glad to see you back D-nut bro.
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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