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Media will miss Turley, but the Rams sure won't
BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Thursday, Jun. 02 2005
Sports media types love Kyle Turley. He is always good for a juicy sound bite
or a pithy story quote. He is always stirring things up.
This dude can even turn NFL Salary Cap Casualty Day into a media event. His
demise seemed to be a foregone conclusion, but Turley told reporters he wanted
to remain a Ram.
He planted the seed of doubt. Would the Rams cut him loose, as expected? Or was
there still hope for a miraculous reconciliation, though Turley suggested he
should play tight end or defensive end instead of tackle?
From this corner of cyberspace, we couldn’t understand why the Rams didn’t
announce his dismissal at the first opportunity Thursday morning.
You can’t build a winning team around Turley. The Saints learned this the hard
way and so did the Rams.
Turley is a fine player, when healthy, but he often seems more interested in
showmanship than football. As he departs the Rams organization, he should give
serious thought to switching to the entertainment industry full-time.
He is a rock musician, after all. He is also an aspiring broadcaster, a role
that comes naturally to him. He would be a glib and entertaining analyst.
He could try to be become a Hollywood action hero, given his flair for
theatrics. Or, if his back holds up, he could try his hand at pro wrestling
first. Then he could run for governor.
But the NFL? No, that’s still a team thing. The old school still rules. There
is protocol and decorum and team responsibility. Even your socks must be worn
That is a world Turley can’t seem to fit himself into.
It is one thing to get mad at Rams coach Mike Martz. That is not unusual. Much
of Rams Nation is furious with Martz at any given moment. It is perfectly
Yelling at the coach isn’t a big deal, either. That’s football, not
tiddlywinks. Passion is critical in this sport.
Threatening the coach . . . that’s pushing the envelope, but Martz knew what he
was getting when he landed Turley in the first place. The guy is volatile.
And to be honest, Martz had it coming after all his childish sniping at Turley.
Kyle was just standing up for himself.
But by mocking Martz in various interviews since their late-season incident,
well, that’s where Turley crossed the bridge to Outsville. He created a
player-vs.-coach showdown -– and there aren’t many players that win that one.
Randy Moss crossed the bridge with his antics in Minnesota. Terrell Owens has
gone there twice, in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
When T.O. needled Donovan McNabb for his Super Bowl fade, he broke all the
rules. Philadelphia would be better off moving on without Owens, who promises
to be a sideshow in Philly from here on out.
Turley has been a sideshow in two cities. In New Orleans, he attacked general
manager Mickey Loomis and coach Jim Haslett after the organization finally bid
Loomis, Turley said, “knows nothing about football. The guy spent 14 years in a
back room, and now all of a sudden he's a GM? He has no clue about a 40-yard
dash, a pass set, a tackle or a throw.”
Loomis’ reply? “Kyle believes he can coach and manage the team better than the
head coach and GM, but in reality he has trouble managing himself. We
determined that he was a cancer on our team and we simply got rid of him. It
was a unanimous decision of our coaches, personnel department and
Turley also took this shot at the coach: “A lot of players stood up for Jim
Haslett when he was negotiating his contract. We told management, ‘We're not
gonna sign here until he gets taken care of, because we want him to be the
coach.’ But when it came time for him to stand up for the players who had his
back, he stayed out of it. His answer was, ‘I don't get involved with contract
negotiations.’ But that's weak.”
Haslett’s response? “They tell me that 10 percent of the population is
miserable and unhappy all the time and Kyle definitely falls in that 10
percent,” he said. “Following last season, and after meeting with the entire
team one-on-one, the vast majority of our players wanted to see him gone.”
In St. Louis, Turley focused his barbs at Martz. When an ESPN reporter asked
him to rank Mad Mike among NFL coaches, Kyle offered this now-famous quip: “Ah,
man, are they going to have an expansion team? I put him down at 33.”
That’s a funny line . . . uttered by a guy heading out the door. For Turley to
even pretend he could play for Martz again underscores what a great showman he
We’ll miss the guy here at STLtoday.com. But the Rams won’t.