Minicamp: Butler must stay in waiting game
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Jun. 10 2006
In terms of impressing the Rams' new coaching staff, this weekend's full-squad
minicamp was supposed to be Jerametrius Butler's coming-out party.
Hold that thought. After missing the entire 2005 season with a right knee
injury, Butler had his comeback sidetracked when he tweaked his left hamstring
two weeks ago. On Friday, coach Scott Linehan referred to the injury as a
"Another injury," Butler said. "I really wanted to get out there and show the
guys that I'm capable of playing the way I used to in the past - and even
better. So it's another setback."
Butler underwent knee surgery 10 months ago to repair a torn ligament. After
months of recovery and rehab, he was finally cleared to practice in mid-May.
But during his second week of participation in the light practices known as OTA
(organized team activity), Butler tweaked his hamstring before the Memorial Day
"I was breaking on a pass," Butler said. "Actually, I was covering Kevin
Curtis. I think he pushed off. He kind of did it."
Just kidding. After a short pause, Butler playfully added: "No. I'm just
playing. It's a freak accident. ... It's frustrating because I want to get out
there. I want to be out there making plays. It's hard sitting out there
watching Torry (Holt) and Isaac (Bruce) making catches, talking noise. I want
to be out there competing against them, getting better. But I've got to wait."
Exactly how much longer But-ler must wait is uncertain. He did some individual
drill work at the start of minicamp Friday morning but then shut it down.
"I was testing it, but I'm not 'full-go,'" Butler said. "I can't stretch it out
all the way."
Following the weekend minicamp, the Rams have only one week of OTAs remaining
before taking a 5 1/2-week break. So Butler in all likelihood must wait until
late July to get back out on the practice field at training camp.
"I'll listen to my body," Butler said. "My body will let me know when I'm ready
On the one hand, Butler has time on his hands with training camp still a month
and a half away. On the other hand, hamstring injuries can be tricky. It's not
unusual for players to think they're healthy, then go out and aggravate the
injury, leading to further down time. So for now, team medical officials feel
it's better to err on the side of caution.
"They don't want to risk having me go into training camp with a sore
hamstring," Butler said. "Because by then, the season's right around the
corner. They're trying to help me out a little by giving it rest."
Entering the 2005 season, Butler appeared poised to take his place as one of
the NFL's better cornerbacks. In 2003, his first year as a starter, he shared
the team lead with four interceptions. In '04, he accounted for five of the
Rams' season total of six interceptions and was second among NFL defensive
backs with 22 breakups.
But his '05 campaign ended almost before it started. On the first day of
training camp, Butler suffered what originally was diagnosed as a bruised knee.
Further examination revealed the torn ligament and led to season-ending surgery.
On Friday, Butler insisted the knee is fine. Even better than fine.
"The knee's perfect," Butler said.
Same blazing speed?
"Same blazing speed," Butler replied. "Same vertical. Same everything. It's the
hamstring right now."
Butler realizes he needs to get on the practice field as soon as possible to
show defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and the rest of the coaching staff what
he can do.
There's more competition at the cornerback spot than a year ago at this time.
In March, the Rams invested $12 million-plus in free agent Fakhir Brown, who
played for Haslett in New Orleans. Then, the Rams expended a first-round draft
pick on Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.
In late April, Butler almost defiantly played down any competition for the
starting job. "There's two corners - right and left - and I know I'm going to
be on the left side," he said at the time.
But on Friday, he toned down his comments on the competition.
"You've always got to prove yourself," Butler said. "Tye Hill's a young guy.
Fakhir, he was in the system in New Orleans. And everybody else that was here,
like me, Travis (Fisher), DeJuan (Groce), Ron Bartell, we've got to learn the
system. Pick it up real quick."
Re: Minicamp: Butler must stay in waiting game
Patience Butler.....have some patience. Getting back into playing shape does not happen overnight.
Nice job blaming it on Curtis. lol