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  1. #1
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    MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    By Kathleen Nelson
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, May. 11 2006

    Meet Tony Palmer.

    He's big: 6 feet 2, 330 pounds. He's strong: bench presses 500 pounds. His
    dream is proportionate: a career in the National Football League.

    A guard from the University of Missouri, Palmer was the Rams' final pick in the
    draft last month, 243rd overall. Based on the success of the team's recent
    picks in the seventh round, his goal is attainable. Six of the Rams' seven
    picks in the final round since 2002 remain in the NFL.

    For the next few months, the Post-Dispatch will follow Palmer through
    minicamps, drills, workouts and camp, monitoring his progress on and off the
    field. The series, like life, isn't about the destination so much as the
    journey.

    But before getting caught up in the future, or even the present, let's take a
    few steps back and get to know this guy.

    The most interesting thing about Tony, according to Tony: He's a caring person.

    "Football players are tough and mean," he said. "I'm like that on the football
    field, but off the field, I'm different. I believe I'm a caring person."

    Palmer was born Feb. 23, 1983, and was raised in Midwest City, Okla., a suburb
    of Oklahoma City. He sang in the choir and played piano at the church of his
    father, Richard Gaines. His mother, Adrianne Gaines, is an aircraft mechanic.

    While attending Midwest City High, Palmer worked at a Burger King and an
    Arby's, he said, not for the beefy perks but "to save money, like my dad always
    taught me. I saved up enough to buy a 1978 Malibu, about $1,300."

    He drove the car a few years, then gave it to his sister, Tasha. He replaced it
    with a 1996 Grand Marquis, which he still drives. Rather than get a tricked-out
    ride after signing an NFL contract, Palmer plans to keep the car for a year or
    so "to save money."

    Oklahoma State and Missouri recruited Palmer heavily out of high school, but
    the firing of Bob Simmons at Oklahoma State tipped the scales in Missouri's
    favor. Palmer became part of Gary Pinkel's first recruiting class, along with
    quarterback Brad Smith. They redshirted in 2001, then began a healthy
    collaboration that lasted four years. Palmer started 42 games in a row and
    didn't allow a sack on 981 consecutive plays. He was named to the All-Big 12
    second team as a junior, the first team as a senior.

    He walked down the aisle in cap and gown in December, earning a degree in
    general studies, then remained in Columbia to prepare for the draft.

    One of his biggest strengths is his strength. Palmer holds the bench press
    record at Mizzou, 500 pounds, and impressed scouts by lifting 225 pounds 41
    times, six more than any other offensive lineman invited to the NFL scouting
    combine this season.

    "I believe in the weight room, and I always want to get better," he said. "You
    don't get better by sitting around."

    Though Palmer didn't attend the combine, the Rams' new staff thought he
    warranted a closer look. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson sought the opinion of
    Tigers offensive line coach Bruce Walker. The pair had worked together at their
    alma mater, Central Washington, from 1990 to 1993, when Walker was offensive
    line coach and Olson was offensive coordinator.

    "We knew about Tony and put in a call to Bruce, who said, 'He's worth coming
    down to work out,'" Olson said.

    The Rams dispatched assistant offensive line coach Jim Chaney, who "came back
    with good thoughts on him and targeted him as a late-round pick. We liked the
    way he moved. He's a powerful guy. He got glowing recommendations from his
    coaches in terms of his effort and character."

    Palmer also visited the Dolphins and Packers but hoped that he'd get the call
    from the Rams.

    "The coaching staff was just wonderful, a real family atmosphere," he said. "I
    felt like I was right at home, like I was just going right down the street."

    Palmer will hop in his Grand Marquis for a ride down that 120-mile street,
    Interstate 70, to attend the Rams' rookie minicamp this weekend. His goal for
    the weekend, he said, is "to establish the kind of player I am and learn as
    much as I can learn."

    Olson said the weekend is all about learning.

    "You want to teach them how to practice, what our expectations are in a
    practice setting," Olson said, "Are we on our feet? Are we cutting? Do you run
    from drill to drill? How does the whole thing come together? So, when the
    veterans come in, (the rookies) are not lost."

    Since draft day, Palmer said, he had received no specific guidelines from the
    Rams regarding workouts or a target weight goal, which was a concern among
    scouts.

    The only advice the Rams offered, he said, was "to calm down. I'm really
    excited. They told me to relax and have fun this weekend."

    After all, the journey's just begun.


  2. #2
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    Re: MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    He's strong: bench presses 500 pounds.


    WOW!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    I think I will begin to chase my dream...If you guys hear about someone stalking Kelly Clarkson you will know what happened to me. LOL.

    41 reps is amazingly strong. I hope Palmer makes the team.

  4. #4
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    Re: MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    Hopefully, we can work that CARING part out of him.

    I'm rooting for him!

  5. #5
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    Re: MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    41 reps at 225 is really lifting strong. I like this guy and will be routing for him, but for some reason i like the other seventh round O line pick even better. I think palmer has a legit spot at the practice squad and who knows, maybe even the roster, which is a long shot in my view but an injury here or there and you never know.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  6. #6
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    Re: MU's Palmer begins to chase his dream

    I really hope he makes the team. Has really good attitude and 8.39 (I believe) Knock down blocks per game!
    RamsFan16

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