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Pace is still a no-show as season approaches
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, Aug. 30 2004
For those of you who had Monday in the "Orlando Pace" office pool, sorry, but
thanks for playing.
The Rams returned to work Monday for their first practice since the Washington
exhibition game. Once again, they were without Pace, their five-time Pro Bowl
Many observers thought Monday would be the day, giving Pace two full weeks to
prepare for the season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. In fact, some team
officials hoped Pace would report Sunday. That way, he could take his physical
and sign his one-year, $7.02 million franchise tender, without missing any
meeting time or practice time Monday.
But none of the above happened.
Pace has not participated in any organized team activities since the Rams'
double-overtime playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 10. As a result, he has missed
all of training camp in Macomb for the third time in eight NFL seasons. And
unless he shows up in the next day or two, he will miss the Rams' entire 2004
exhibition schedule. The club leaves St. Louis on Wednesday for its exhibition
finale Thursday night in Oakland.
Pace has not returned several phone messages from the Post-Dispatch. But that's
not surprising, considering he has not returned phone messages from coach Mike
Martz and other members of the Rams staff.
Pace hosted a party for team members at a midtown nightclub Friday after the
Washington exhibition game, fueling speculation that he soon would report to
"I have not talked to him," said Grant Williams, who has been manning left
tackle in Pace's absence. "But I would expect him probably to come in
(Tuesday). I know if I was in that situation, I would want to play in the last
preseason game and get ready for the season.
"And at the same time, I wouldn't want to jeopardize myself and miss the
'install' and preparation for this game. You don't want to go into the Oakland
game totally short-handed. You want to get a few reps and feel sort of
comfortable. So I would think (Tuesday)."
Williams said today's practice would feature the "installation" of whatever
semblance of a game plan the Rams will have for the Raiders.
If Pace follows the same game plan as last year, when he also balked at the
team's franchise-player designation, he will report today. Last year, he
reported two days before the team's preseason finale, and 12 days before the
season opener. If he reports today, it will be two days before the preseason
finale, and 12 days before the opener.
Martz said he has gotten beyond the point of expecting Pace to report on any
"When he comes in, I'll be welcoming him with open arms, and be excited and
elated that he's here," Martz said.
Naturally, Martz would like to have Pace report in time to play against
"But realistically, I treat this like it's an injury," Martz said. "When you
get the player back, you get him back. There's nothing you can do about it, so
there's no sense really talking about it."
Baltimore cornerback Chris McAlister signed his franchise tender Monday,
leaving Pace, Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson and Seattle offensive tackle
Walter Jones as the only remaining franchise players who have not reported.
Woodson and Pace are represented by the Poston brothers - Carl and Kevin.
Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt last spoke with Carl Poston
on Friday. Poston did not return a Monday phone message from the Post-Dispatch
Re: Pace is still a no-show as season approaches
SIGN THE TENDER FAT BOY!!!
Pardon me, that wasn't very nice. I should have said, "Mr. Pace, I believe it is time to end your vacation and report to work"......."FAT BOY"
Sorry, relapse."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
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