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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Palmer plays waiting game

    By Kathleen Nelson
    Wednesday, Jul. 12 2006

    Weight and wait.

    Those are the threads running through this summer for Tony Palmer, a Rams seventh-round draft choice from the University of Missouri. Palmer has sweated at draft weekend, huffed and puffed through rookie minicamp, listened to the veterans in organized team activities, thrived in the workout room and pored over the playbook. For almost a month, though, he is on his own to work on his weight. And to wait.

    Palmer left Rams Park in late June and headed to San Diego with player programs director Ray Ogas and the team's draft choices for rookie school, a beefed-up version of the seminars that Ogas organized at Rams Park. Palmer said he enjoyed the Rookie Challenge, nightly quizzes to test the draft choices on how much they had remembered from the day's seminars, especially when third-round pick Claude Wroten and seventh-round pick Mark Setterstrom scored well enough to win prizes.

    Palmer's favorite part of the week was a series of skits performed by actors with help from the rookies, portraying potentially sticky situations that athletes commonly find themselves in.

    "Those really stuck in my mind," Palmer said. "They tried to show us that we always have choices, some much better than others."

    After leaving San Diego, Palmer returned to his alma mater in Columbia and resumed workouts with former Mizzou teammates Sean Coffey, C.J. Mosley, Brad Smith and Atiyyah Ellison. Palmer swapped war stories about picking up the pace of workouts, refining mechanics and memorizing playbooks with fellow rookies Coffey and Smith. Mosley and Ellison, who were drafted in 2005, nodded in agreement.

    "Everybody has been through pretty much the same thing," Palmer said. "Everybody has to learn to step it up if they want to play in the NFL."

    The group also traveled to Boonville, Mo., to help at a youth football camp.

    "I love working with little kids," Palmer said. "I love to coach and watch them take in everything you say. You just have to make sure you're giving them good advice."

    Earlier this week, Palmer hopped on a plane to Olympia, Wash., to visit his 17-year-old brother, Lance. This weekend, he'll travel to Midwest City, Okla., to visit his parents, Richard and Adrianne Gaines. While he's home, he'll continue the Rams' daily workout program with Mike Clark, his high school wrestling coach. Palmer reported to minicamp in May at 336 pounds, and the Rams set a goal of 325 by training camp.

    When asked whether he was able to stick to his workout and nutrition plans on his own, Palmer responded with considerable pride: "327. Right on target. I'm feeling good because I'm doing it the right way. I'm not eating late at night, and I'm sticking to the right foods. Instead of losing it all really fast, I'm doing it gradually."

    Thus, he has been making good use of his time while waiting for the call: news from his agent, Peter Schaffer, of a contract. Schaffer said he expected to open negotiations with the Rams today.

    "We've got nothing but a long history of fair negotiations with the Rams," said Schaffer, who has negotiated 45 contracts with active NFL players, according to the NFL Players' Association Web site. "We look forward to tough, hard-fought but fair dealings."

    Palmer said he has talked with Schaffer about once a week, most recently last week, since the pair met in January. Schaffer contacted Palmer, and the agent got good reviews from Palmer's teammate, Martin Rucker, whose brother, Mike, is a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers and is represented by Schaffer. He talked to five other agents before settling on Schaffer.

    "You pretty much have to go with your gut instinct because neither side really knows the other," Palmer said. "He was the one I felt the most comfortable with. He was honest and up front."

  2. #2
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Palmer plays waiting game

    I like the idea that wroten won one of the prizes for answering questions correctly. While a seemingly small thing, it projects the impression that wroten is transitioning professionally and is taking his responsibilities off the field seriously. That is promising news for all of us, at a time when any news at all is hard to find and the only quasi-news is the alleged death watch on the future of marshall faulk.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Palmer plays waiting game

    Ding, ding, ding......we have a winner! GC is exactly right. Don't just brush off that one-liner about Wroten. The biggest question mark about him was his maturity. Well, if he is paying such close attention during seminars that he wins a contest for answering questions.....that sheds a little light in to how ready to become a professional he is.

  4. #4
    Mercclass Guest

    Re: Palmer plays waiting game

    I was thinking the exact same thing. I kinda ignored the rest of the article.

  5. #5
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Palmer plays waiting game

    I like hearing about Wroten (something positive, for once), I think this guy will step up and be an adult about his off field problems.
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  6. #6
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
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    Re: Palmer plays waiting game

    Hopefully Wroten has learned from his mistake. He probably has learned that drugs ruin your football career. Like it has done to Ricky Williams. He had better have relized that he could have been a first round pick if he didnt smoke pot! Hopefully he will have a Great future with the Rams and it would be awesome if it starts this season!


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