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    Pace combines more with less

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Jul. 30 2007

    It wasn't too long ago that Orlando Pace sightings at training camp were as
    common as football Cardinals playoff wins.

    Pace missed more than a month of preseason work (and several exhibition games)
    in 1997, 2003, and 2004 because of contract impasses, going 0-for-Macomb all
    three years. But times change. It's now commonplace to see Pace show up on
    reporting day for training camp.

    "I was just thinking that on the way here," Pace said. Then, he added with a
    "nostalgic" chuckle: "Man, it sure was nice a few years ago. But I guess it's
    one of those things you have to do now."

    There are pros and cons to everything. Pace no longer has a built-in "excuse"
    to miss camp. But at least he's not in Macomb, Ill., the team's training camp
    home from 1996 through 2004. And he does have the financial security of a
    seven-year, $52.9 million deal that he signed in March 2005.

    "I'm glad we don't have to go to Macomb," Pace said. "I'd rather be here in St.
    Louis. This is good. This is one of those luxuries that you really enjoy. And
    you get a chance to shoot home on some days off. That's a big plus for the
    players."

    This season, less of Pace is seen at training camp, but that has nothing to do
    with money or contracts. Pace made it a point to lose weight prior to camp,
    making good use of the five-week break between the end of organized team
    activities and offseason training in mid June and the start of training camp.
    His reporting-day weight of 321 pounds Thursday was the lightest of his 11 NFL
    seasons.

    Normally, he reports about five to 10 pounds heavier and tends to put on some
    weight during the season. He has arrived in camp as heavy as 340 pounds-plus in
    the past.

    "I'm a little bit trimmer," Pace said. "The older you get in this league,
    probably the lighter you have to play. It's going to help me out with my knees
    and hopefully some of the muscle pulls."

    Pace, in fact, missed time in training camp the past two summers because of a
    variety of leg ailments.

    "Last couple years, I've been trying to work my way into shape once I got into
    camp," Pace said. "This year, I put in a conscious effort to try to come in and
    not have to worry about weight."

    Pace has other concerns this year, namely making sure his left arm is sound
    following triceps surgery last season. Pace suffered the injury in Seattle last
    Nov. 12, pass blocking against longtime former Rams teammate Grant Wistrom.

    "It's coming along good," Pace said. "It feels a lot better than it did before
    minicamp."

    Pace was cleared to practice prior to that full-squad minicamp in June. But he
    experienced some aches and pains in the arm even before the start of training
    camp.

    "Some days it feels good," Pace said Thursday. "And some days if I sleep on it
    too long, you get up and it feels a little sore."

    Even so, Pace plans to go full bore throughout camp, unless told otherwise by
    team medical officials or the coaching staff. Coach Scott Linehan does plan to
    be smarter about how he uses Pace, but that's as much a concession to age —
    Pace turned 32 in January — as it is to injury.

    "We'll rotate some of the older guys as far as the reps," Linehan said. "Like
    every third practice switch off with (Pace) and Todd Steussie, and do the same
    thing with some of the defensive guys like "Glove" (La'Roi Glover) and Leonard
    (Little).

    "And also Andy (McCollum) and our two receivers (Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce). I
    think there's a cutoff. If you're like 32 years old, you get special treatment."

    Three days into training camp, Pace doesn't appear to be limited in any way
    because of the triceps surgery. The seven-time Pro Bowler actually is excited
    about the start of camp, something that didn't seem possible a few years ago
    when he was saddled with the franchise tag for all or part of three seasons.


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    Re: Pace combines more with less

    Pace becomes a lean, mean blocking machine

    Rams star trims some pounds

    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS --
    Orlando Pace tipped the scales at a svelte 321 pounds at the start of the St. Louis Rams' training camp.
    That's the lightest that Pace, who is entering his 11th season, has ever weighed in.

    "The older you get in this league, the lighter you have to play," Pace said. "This will help out on my knees, and hopefully with those muscle pulls that you can have."

    Pace enters training camp in the best shape of his NFL career as he tries to come back from a torn triceps muscle in his left arm, an injury that sidelined him for final seven games of the 2006 season.

    "The last couple of years I've tried to work my way into shape once I got into camp," Pace said. "This year coming off an injury, I wanted to come in not having to worry about weight. I normally play around 325 or 330, and later in the year probably even more than that. This is a good spot for me because I don't have to go in and try to lose weight. I can just focus on playing football."

    The injury snapped Pace's streak of seven straight Pro Bowl invitations. Now he's trying to work himself back into Pro Bowl form.

    "Some days it feels good and some days if I sleep on it too long and I get up and it feels sore," Pace said of his arm. "Speaking to the doctors, I'm going to have that soreness. I understand that. We'll just have to be cautious on it.'

    Pace has handled a full workload during the Rams' training camp, which opened Friday.

    Rams coach Scott Linehan said he plans to ease up on some of his older players, including Pace, who will turn 32 on Nov. 4, during training camp.

    "We'll rotate some of the older guys as far as reps," Linehan said. "Every third practice, we'll switch off him and (Todd) Steussie and do the same thing with some of the defensive guys like (La'Roi) Glover and Leonard (Little). Andy (McCullom) is another guy, then our two receivers (Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce). I think there's a cut-off, like if you're 32 years old, you get special treatment."

    Pace has assumed more of a leadership role among the offensive linemen, a group that includes three starters (Richie Incognito and Mark Setterstrom and Alex Barron) who under 25 years old.

    "I am one of the veterans out there, and I have to be a leader out there," Pace said. "I'm really excited about the line this year. The young guys did well last year when a couple of guys went down. That's what we are hoping for this year, that that experience helps them. I'm expecting big things."

    Pace, who held out of training camp after being designated as the Rams' franchise player in 2003 and 2004, is still getting used to being a training camp regular after signing a seven-year, $52.9 million contract in 2005.

    "I was just thinking about that on the way here," Pace said. "It sure was nice a few years ago."

    Pace sees training camp as a necessary evil.

    "The first couple of days are always exciting, but then fatigue starts to set in a little bit," Pace said. "The repetition of hitting the same guys every day kind of gets tiresome. Once you get into the games, then it gets fun again. It's just one of those necessary grinds that we have to go through."

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