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Signing contract relieves anxiety for rookie DB
Signing contract relieves anxiety for rookie DB
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Jul. 29 2005
By going to work, Rams rookie Ron Bartell finally is able to get some rest.
"I was up the past two nights; I couldn't sleep," he said. "I've been real
anxious to get to work, to get the business part out of the way and just do
what I do, which is, I love to play football. And that's exactly what I'm going
Bartell, a defensive back from NCAA Division I-AA Howard University, was the
team's second-round draft pick in April (No. 50 overall). His first training
camp practice was delayed by a day as his agent, Jeff Griffin, engaged in
contract negotiations with the Rams.
While 78 players hit the Rams Park turf Thursday morning, a restless Bartell
was holed up in his nearby apartment. "Sitting out was tough on me," said
Bartell, 6 feet 1 and 208 pounds. "I really wanted to be here, but things
didn't move quite as well as we hoped."
Still, Bartell resisted pressuring Griffin into completing a deal so that he
could report on time. "I just let him do his job," said Bartell, a Detroit
native. "My job is to worry about things that I can control, which is on the
field. The contract situation was out of my hands. We came to a fair deal, got
it done, and I'm happy."
At about 9 p.m. Thursday, Bartell, 23, signed a four-year contract worth
$2,879,000, including a signing bonus of $1,494,000. He said becoming an
instant millionaire didn't faze him much.
"That's not what I play for; I play to win championships," Bartell insisted.
"When you're growing up, you're not even thinking about the money. You just go
out and play. I mean, I started playing street football, so it was never about
the money then and it's not going to be about the money now."
He did acknowledge - somewhat sheepishly - that he'd already purchased a new
Less than 12 hours after signing, Bartell was on the field. But not until he
absorbed a few good-natured barbs from his new teammates. "There were little
jokes here and there. Nothing serious, though," he said, laughing.
The Rams, though, are serious about Bartell's potential. He's penciled in as a
backup for first-team cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher and
could figure in the nickel or dime packages.
"In terms of an athlete at the position, he's the whole package, with the size,
speed, quickness, agility," coach Mike Martz said. "He's a big guy who
eventually could (cover) slot receivers and be very effective."
But Bartell, who ran a 4.37-second 40 at the scouting combine, also could
figure in the mix at safety, where he's had considerable experience. For now,
veteran Adam Archuleta and rookie Jerome Carter are the starters there, but
Bartell's versatility could earn him added playing time.
"I think it's a bonus," he said. "If somebody goes down, I can always slide
into either (corner or safety). I think that helps a lot." And he's not picky
about his position, either. "As long as I'm playing. I don't have a
preference," he said. "I'm just going to give it my all, and whatever happens,
Despite a vow to keep oral dress-downs of his players to a minimum, Martz
couldn't avoid a short but fiery eruption Friday. Within a 30-minute span, he
unloaded on wide receiver Dante Ridgeway, quarterback Jeff Smoker and fullback
Madison Hedgecock for various indiscretions.
When Hedgecock, a seventh-round draft choice from North Carolina, jogged
through a pass route, Martz blurted, "Run, Madison, run ... RUN!"
Hedgecock promised he wouldn't repeat that error. "Naw," he said. "I'm going to
come back out next time ready to practice. I had a lot of rookie mistakes, so I
need to fix that."
Reserve running back Dusty McGrorty sat out Friday afternoon's practice after
suffering a knee injury on a hit by safety Mike Furrey during "live" drills in
the morning. The results of an MRI were not immediately available. ... Butler
left the afternoon workout early after becoming dizzy. ... Promising rookie
Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe, a third-round draftee from Stanford, is going against
NFL veterans for the first time. Under NFL rules, he had to skip the spring
full-squad minicamp because the senior class hadn't yet graduated at Stanford.
Re: Signing contract relieves anxiety for rookie DB
I like the way Bartell thinks!.....................They should play this game as a game and not a business!.................Look at all the times many other people have to change their jobs! I don't like my job even as a owner of my business and would much rather have been able to make it to the pro level! Even if it were for just a year or two! These players of today only think about the money! hell i would have played for pennies or even free just because i had the love of the game!