New tackle makes immediate contribution


Associated Press

MACOMB, Ill. - Newly signed offensive lineman Greg Randall hit the ground rumbling with the St. Louis Rams.

The 333-pound tackle, who bolsters an injury-plagued position, showed up at training camp for a physical on Sunday night after agreeing to a contract. On Monday, he participated in about 10 plays of a scrimmage.

"Obviously we feel pretty good about him, to bring him in like this and throw him in like we did," coach Mike Martz said. "So, he'll compete."

The Rams had been down to 10 healthy linemen before they signed Randall, who was released by the ***** in June. Tackle Kyle Turley was in St. Louis having his ailing back checked, center Dave Wohlabaugh is recovering from hip surgery and tackle Orlando Pace is a contract holdout.

Randall, who is 6-6 and 333 pounds, is a former fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2000 and played his first three seasons for New England. He started all 16 games for the Houston Texans last year at right tackle, but his stay with the ***** was brief.

Opening a letter from the team, Randall discovered he had been cut. If he makes it with the Rams, that'll be incentive for the two games with San Francisco this year.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "But the main thing is to try to learn this system and try to get this offense down."

Randall used to be known as Robinson-Randall. For a time he used the last name of both his mother and his father, who died of cancer at age 24.

The Rams also were trying to sign Chris Dishman, a guard-center formerly of the Cardinals.

Martz was unsure when Turley, who underwent surgery for a herniated disc in March, might return to the team. Turley was considering visiting a back specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, in Los Angeles.

"That's going to take some time," Martz said. "When you're dealing with a back, particularly since he's had surgery, he wants and we've encouraged him to always get a second and third opinion so he feels good about where he is."

The Rams released kicker Dillon Pieffer, a rookie from UNLV who signed with the team on July 26. That leaves incumbent Jeff Wilkins as the only kicker in camp.


CLOSE CALL: Rookie defensive end Anthony Hargrove avoided an injury at the end of Monday's practice when he turned his left ankle. He spent time on the trainer's table, but after practice Hargrove seemed fine and the ankle wasn't even wrapped.

"It happens all the time, so I should be all right," Hargrove said. "It was scary at first because I felt like I broke it.

"Walking around on it, it feels better."

Hargrove, the team's third-round draft pick, is happy with his performance so far even though line coach Bill Kollar has ridden him mercilessly. He's among the candidates to replace the departed Grant Wistrom at end.

"I'm glad they're riding me because I want to show everybody I can make plays, I can make it happen, I can be a contributor to the team this year," Hargrove said. "I like the confidence he has that I can make a play almost every down."


DOUGHNUT BROTHERS:@ Pastry-loving offensive guard Adam Timmerman and guard-center Andy McCollum are known on the team as the "Doughnut Brothers," and fans making the trip from St. Louis brought them a little taste of home - three dozen of their preferred brand.

Well, almost three dozen.

"They hit the nail right on the head," Timmerman said. "There was one missing, but we were like hey, if we were driving up, there wouldn't have been any left."


SHORT WORKOUT:@ Rain and lightning forced the Rams to cut Monday's single workout about 20 minutes short.

"We got some good hitting; I thought we were going to get hit by lightning," Timmerman said. "At one point it was like we were surrounded.

"If Mom was around, she would have said 'Get in the house!'"