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Team Report: Inside Slant
The rumors had been flying for several days regarding running back Marshall Faulk. That he had decided to retire and would accept a job from the NFL Network. That his absence from the team's minicamp was as much about a rift with coach Scott Linehan as it was about one of his knees being slow to respond after February surgery on both knees.

Faulk worked to stop the speculation when he appeared at his annual charity golf tournament June 12.

When asked about talk he has decided to stop playing, Faulk said, "That's second-hand. It didn't come from me. There's no timetable."

Concerning the problem with his knee, Faulk said, "I'm kind of a foreigner to my own body. I thought I knew this piece of work here. As you get a little older, you kind of become a little distant with your body. You wake up, and things don't feel the way they used to.

"The thing that I'm not doing that I used to do is accelerate it, do more to get back quicker. I've done that. I've had surgery in the season, come back and played. I don't think I could do that right now. I'm really taking my time with it and allowing it to let me know, 'We can go,' or 'We can't.'"

While the Rams apparently haven't pushed Faulk for a decision, it makes sense the team would like to know in time for the first training camp practice on July 27. But Faulk said that might not be possible.

"I don't know if you can say, 'Hey, knee, you've got to be ready by camp,'" he said. "What do you do? How do I tell it that? If that was the case, I'd have told it to be ready six months ago."

Faulk does acknowledge that thoughts of retiring have been in his head for a while. If he plays, Faulk will be a backup to Steven Jackson. He can handle that, but he also wants to feel comfortable that the team has a chance to be successful.

"When you get to Year 13, when you get a coaching change, you look at the bigger picture of things," Faulk said. "You say, 'Are we going to be playing for a championship?' If that doesn't seem possible, then you start thinking about other things. It's a thought that for the last two or three years has crept into my mind."

Still, he says he likes what he has seen from Linehan and he talks frequently with new running backs coach Wayne Moses.

Faulk said, "We talk football a little. He (Linehan) seems very knowledgeable about what he wants to get accomplished, about what kind of team he wants to have. He's trying to get from me a feeling for the team, the guys and stuff like that. We're just trying to mesh, trying to put it all together and win some football games."

Agent Rocky Arceneaux said that Faulk is "very sensitive to the Rams and what their needs are. Obviously if he can't go, they have to address that need and get a third running back, but they haven't really put any pressure on us."

Team Report: Notes and Quotes
Team Report: Notes and Quotes

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
--Despite frequent rumors that Dexter Coakley would be a post-June 1 salary-cap casualty, there was the Rams' veteran linebacker running around at minicamp following his recovery from a broken leg that ended his 2005 season.

Coakley worked hard during the off-season, and dismissed talk that he considered retirement.

"Obviously, when you have two young kids at home, you give it some thought, but I didn't want to go out like this," Coakley said. "They brought me here when the old coaching regime was here to help this ball club win games. We didn't do very much of that last year. It never really crossed my mind to just lay it down and leave the game.

"I wanted to show that I was still capable of playing the game and helping a team win ball games."

Coakley is ticketed for a backup spot, so it will still be the team's decision whether to keep a highly-paid player who isn't a starter. But he is just concentrating on showing what he is still capable of doing.

"It's going well," Coakley said during the recent minicamp. "I'm able to get out there on the field and compete. I'm able to get out there and do everything that everyone else is doing. I feel pretty good. I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm very encouraged by what is going on."

--After getting accustomed to the team's new offense, and the early growing pains that can come with that, quarterback Marc Bulger is enjoying his off-season.

Said Bulger, "It's so much more relaxed in the offseason. The tempo is less, the coaches are in a better mood, and there's not any pressure. You're just enhancing your skills and learning the system."

--During the minicamp, watching the team's offensive line do wind sprints was a frequent occurrence after workouts.

It turns out line coach Paul Boudreau is instituting consequences for false starts. During one practice, Boudreau let out a string of expletives when he was unhappy with what the line was doing.

"I've always thought that it was a good thing within the group to have some kind of a penalty," coach Scott Linehan said, when asked about the line running. "One thing we've really addressed is the pre-snap penalties that were a problem for this team a year ago. We're really putting the hammer down when we don't do a good job."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "With the old school thinking with those two-a-days, they don't have a lot of recovery time, so that afternoon you get a lot of the issues with cramping and all that. It's what we did at Miami. Nick (Saban) actually did it at LSU, and a lot of teams in the NFL are going to do it." -- Coach Scott Linehan on the team's training camp schedule, which will have two practices one day in the morning and evening, and then just one practice the following day.

Team Report: Strategy and Personnel
Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: P Bryan Barker; RB Aveion Cason; CB Terry Fair; OG Tom Nutten; TE Roland Williams.


EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: CB Dwight Anderson; DT Jeremy Calahan; S Dwaine Carpenter; TE Jerome Collins; LB Mike Goolsby.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Isaac Bruce; WR Kevin Curtis; DE Brandon Green; CB DeJuan Groce; LS Chris Massey; WR Shaun McDonald; OG Blaine Saipaia; QB Jeff Smoker; LB Drew Wahlroos.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Fakhir Brown; S Corey Chavous; RB Tony Fisher; DT Jason Fisk; QB Gus Frerotte; DT La'Roi Glover; WR Brad Pyatt; FB Paul Smith; LB Raonall Smith; OT Todd Steussie; P Matt Turk; LB Will Witherspoon.

PLAYERS LOST: S Adam Archuleta; LB Chris Claiborne; S Mike Furrey; RB Arlen Harris; CB Corey Ivy; DE Tyoka Jackson; CB Chris Johnson; DT Damione Lewis; LB Jeremy Loyd; TE Brandon Manumaleuna; QB Jamie Martin; OT Matt Morgan; NT Ryan Pickett; OL Rex Tucker.