By Bill Coats
Friday, Nov. 18 2005

Perhaps a bit skittish to discuss anything that occurs at practice after the
mini-altercation earlier this week between two assistant coaches, Rams tackle
Orlando Pace feigned ignorance when asked about Mike Martz's surprise
appearance Friday.

"He was out there?" said Pace, laughing heartily.

Indeed, he was. Martz spent about 30 minutes at the indoor practice facility,
chatting with interim head coach Joe Vitt, several other assistants and a
handful of players.

Martz has been at Rams Park several times since announcing in late October that
he would sit out the rest of the season while undergoing treatment for a
heart-valve infection. Most recently, he addressed the team Monday morning
after the Rams' loss at Seattle, but he had not appeared at practice before.

"I was surprised to see him out there," Pace said. "I'm sure it's tough to stay
home during the course of the season. It was good just to see him getting

Wide receiver Dane Looker said: "He's been a vital part of this organization
for a long time, and he's put this team together. He probably just wanted to
check on things, see how everything is going."

Quarterback Marc Bulger said Martz kept the conversation light. "It was pretty
much just to say 'hi' to everyone," Bulger said. Considering the strange
goings-on this season at Rams Park, Martz's appearance hardly ranked as a
bombshell, Bulger noted.

"You really don't get surprised around here too much anymore," he said.