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Terrell Battling Back from Wrist Injury
Terrell Battling Back from Wrist Injury
Monday, July 30, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
Every player in the NFL comes to a crossroads in their career at some point or another. But for most, that crossroads usually comes much later than the year following their rookie season.
But it’s fair to say that the last year of Rams guard Claude Terrell’s life put into question whether his future was going to involve football or not.
“It was extremely hard,” Terrell said. “I wasn’t around. I wasn’t able to play coming off the rookie season I had. It was real hard. I had to take it for what it was and make myself better as a person and a player.”
After a rookie season in which Terrell emerged from fourth-round draft choice into a 10-game starter with a penchant for run blocking, Terrell arrived to last year’s offseason program out of shape and out of sorts following offseason surgery on his right wrist.
Terrell’s first year in the league was, without question, a success and it appeared to give a glimpse to the future of what might be on an offensive line with a powerful young player such as Terrell on the interior.
It took Terrell almost no time to earn the starting job and work with the first unit. He sat the first five games of the season, but soon enough had earned the starting job and played the rest of the way sans one game.
Terrell suffered the wrist injury in November, but played out the season with a brace. Soon after the season, Terrell had surgery on the wrist to repair torn ligaments and cartilage.
On just the second day of last year’s training camp, Terrell aggravated the wrist and did not return for the rest of the season.
“The whole football thing, I had been out of the loop for a whole year,” Terrell said. “I have been playing football since I was 6 and last fall was the first time I didn’t have my normal routine for like 18 years. It was real tough.”
Terrell requested to return to his home near Houston to rehabilitate and consider another surgery on the wrist. Coach Scott Linehan granted the request under the impression that Terrell would have another surgery.
But Terrell had a discussion with Dr. Evan Collins, who told him that the type of surgery he was considering could be the end of a career that never really got started.
“It’s been done before, it’s just not done on athletes at least not if you want to continue your career,” Terrell said. “It was a no brainer when he said it could possibly be a career ender. I said we are not doing that.”
So Terrell spent his time at home watching his cousin Leonard “Bam Bam” Dynes lead LaMarque High to a Texas state championship from his middle linebacker position.
Terrell resisted the urge to coach, but gave Dynes some advice and was there to cheer on his alma mater from the sidelines. And that was the only football Terrell would allow himself to watch for the better part of the year.
“I didn’t start watching football until November,” Terrell said. “I didn’t even want to watch it. I got a lot of family time.”
Terrell finally tuned into a game when the Rams played at Seattle on Nov. 12, just in time to see left tackle Orlando Pace suffer a season ending triceps injury.
After the 2007 season, Terrell knew he had some work to do to get back into the good graces of a coaching staff he had spent little time around and had little opportunity to prove himself in front of.
Gone was the likely starting job as rookie Mark Setterstrom and Richie Incognito proved themselves more than worthy during the season. All that was left was room for a discussion with the head coach and hope of a second chance.
Terrell came back to St. Louis with a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the job. In addition, the wrist seemed to completely heal and Terrell was able to participate in all of the organized team activities as well as the full squad minicamp in June.
Now, he is back in his usual guard position, running with the second unit and hoping to play catch up with Setterstrom. A conversation with Linehan yielded no promise of playing time, only the opportunity to have a chance to earn a spot, just like everyone else.
“It isn’t going to be handed to you,” Terrell said. “You have to earn it so that’s what I am going to do. I’m going to earn my spot back.”
FAST TRACK: There’s little doubt that even as a rookie cornerback Jonathan Wade is one of the fastest Rams on the roster. So it’s little surprise that a player who does everything at a high rate of speed is being asked to learn the intricacies of playing cornerback in the NFL with that same level of speed.
In the opening days of camp, Wade has been put on a fast track to be on the field with the defense when the season opens. To that end, the Rams have given him plenty of opportunities to work with the first team defense. Whether at nickel or outside, Wade has earned plenty of chances and is responding to the call of his coaches.
“I really anticipate that he is going to continue to compete to be on the field on defense whether he is a corner or in the nickel spot, wherever he is,” Linehan said. “That’s our goal. He has not disappointed. He really improved his conditioning. I think he is going to be a heck of a special teams player as a young player and he will want to get into that rotation. But we have a long way to go before we get there.”
RAVE REVIEWS: Of the few changes made to the coaching staff in the offseason, none was bigger than the hiring of Al Roberts as the new special teams coach.
Roberts brought experience and a good relationship with Linehan. Soon after his hiring, Linehan made it clear to Roberts that the Rams would do whatever it takes to get the special teams unit playing at a high level.
Included in those moves was planning for extra work on it in practice and acquiring a punter in Donnie Jones and a returner in Dante Hall. So far, Hall loves his new coach.
“I love Al Roberts,” Hall said. “He is very detailed, very enthusiastic, a funny guy, he keeps meetings good. So far, so good. I love the way he approaches coaching.”
RAM BITS: Chris Draft is still not back on the practice field, but is getting closer, according to Linehan. Draft has been in all meetings and the team has put him through a battery of tests to ensure that he doesn’t have anything beyond the suspected throat condition…tight end Joe Klopfenstein missed Monday’s practice as he suffered tightness in his hamstring in Sunday’s evening practice…linebacker Tim McGarigle still is out as he recovers from a hamstring injury…the attendance for Monday’s practice was 514…Quinton Culberson had one of the biggest hits of the day, chasing down a screen pass, blasting rookie center Dustin Fry and moving on to finish the play and make a tackle…the catch of the day belonged to Marques Hagans, who made a nice one-handed, left-handed grab down the sideline in team drills.
-07-31-2007 #2RamsFan16 Guest
Re: Terrell Battling Back from Wrist InjuryQuinton Culberson had one of the biggest hits of the day, chasing down a screen pass, blasting rookie center Dustin Fry and moving on to finish the play and make a tackle
Great for him!
-07-31-2007 #3RamOfDenmark Guest
Re: Terrell Battling Back from Wrist Injury
Terrell is a real dark horse for our O-line this year, I hope he gets a real chance to earn a starting spot, or at least the top interior backup spot. It seems like when you get into the coaches' doghouse you don't get out again, let's hope they give him a chance. When you read about what he did last year from his perspective it doesn't sound that bad I think, I mean he should have communicated with the staff no question about it, but who can blame him for not having a risky and potentially career-ending surgery in his 2nd year - that's easy for a coach to demand, he can always find another guard, but for Terrell it's pretty serious business obviously. To go in as a rookie 4th round pick and start 10 games it's pretty clear Terrell has some talent, let's hope he'll compete this year and may the best (O-line)men win the starting spots!
Re: Terrell Battling Back from Wrist Injury
I like what Terrell brings to the table I just see him playing the rest of his career somewhere else as a starter. Right now we have our starters set in Riche Icognito and Mark Setterstrom. He will be an excellent back-up, but I doubt that he will want to resign with us as a backup when he knows that he can start.
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