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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    There's no marked change in Marc Bulger
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/01/2004





    MACOMB, Ill. - Marc Bulger became Joe Millionaire when he signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract in May.

    All that money, including a $9 million signing bonus, represents a commitment by the Rams' organization to Bulger as its quarterback of the future. At least, of the near future.

    But money aside, Bulger remains Joe Quarterback - just a regular guy when it comes to his approach to the game and all that comes with being a QB in the NFL.

    He doesn't necessarily avoid the spotlight, but doesn't seek it out, either.

    He has never been about the glitter, the endorsements, the radio and TV shows. And that doesn't figure to change, even though his life changed in a big way with the new contract and the departure of Kurt Warner.

    "I really don't think it will change," Bulger said. "It is challenging sometimes. You get opportunities that you want to do. But you have to stick to who you are, and what will make you happy.

    "And I don't think that doing a show maybe for an hour a week on Monday is going to make me happy. I had opportunities to do it last year, and the year before, and it's just not something that appeals to me."

    For one, he no longer needs the money. For another, he likes to keep his own time his own time. For yet another, he wants to keep his eye on the target.

    "Now that I have a new contract, I'm pretty secure," Bulger said. "I can concentrate on football. I'm not going to go looking for things to do. When you get those few hours off, you need that to rest. You need that to get refreshed for the next week. And I think doing too many things would hurt this team rather than help it."

    So you're probably never going to see Bulger with a Monday night show on St. Louis television. ("Highly unlikely," he says.)

    You're not likely to see him pitching cars, or cell phones, or plasma screens any time soon. (OK, he does have a shoe contract.)

    And no disrespect to Warner, but you're not going to see Bulger at a table signing autographs for 45 minutes following every practice in training camp.

    "There's not going to be a table," Bulger said. "I don't have my own football card to give out (as Warner did), so I can't get the table going. ... I'll sign my share but I'm not going to go out looking or anything."

    The fact that Bulger seems intent on avoiding the trappings of success has not gone unnoticed by coach Mike Martz.

    "Football's his passion," Martz said. "It's pretty much his life right now, and he's not interested in anything else. He's squared away. He doesn't need those things. And I think that's the attraction of Marc to this football team. He's just one of the guys.

    "Ultimately, that's what a football team wants. They don't want somebody that they can't relate to."

    When Bulger arrived at training camp Tuesday, he was engulfed by reporters waiting outside Thompson Hall. He starting answering questions without even bothering to put down a TV set he was lugging into the dormitory.

    When he wasn't working out at Rams Park during the offseason, Bulger was back home in Pittsburgh throwing - as usual - to a schoolteacher Bulger would identify only as ... Zach.

    Zach?

    "He's not Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce," Bulger said. "But he played basketball for a little school in Pittsburgh, so he's athletic enough to get in the way of the ball."

    Zach has been his guy every offseason for the last three years. So why change now?

    "As long as he stays employed as a teacher, he'll have his summers off," Bulger said.

    They always work out on a small, scrubby field not far from Bulger's parents' house.

    "It's just something I've done every year," Bulger said. "I feel like I want to stick to the routine. It's worked. It's nice. No one bothers you."

    Why change? His teammates certainly don't expect that.

    "I think he can just continue to be him," Holt said. "We're not expecting him to come out and be a rah-rah guy. We're not expecting him to come out and be quiet. We're just expecting him to come out and be Marc. Be a guy that's going to control the game for us, and put us in a position to win ballgames."

    For the first time in his career, Bulger has gone through a full offseason as the No. 1 quarterback. Similarly, this marks his first training camp as the undisputed No. 1. Logic says that can only help in the post-Warner era.

    "He's going to have an opportunity to come in here and settle in, and do his thing, without obviously, the other pressures that have gone along with it in the past," safety Adam Archuleta said.

    So far in camp, some of his teammates say Bulger appears more relaxed. Others say he seems no different than last year.

    On the field, he has thrown the ball well in the first few workouts of training camp. He has thrown some nice deep balls. He has been seen throwing the ball away rather than forcing it into traffic. That's a good habit to get into. Fewer interceptions and more precise deep balls are about the only changes anyone wants to see out of Bulger.

    "I'm very pleased with him," Martz said Friday, five practices into camp. "He's been consistently very good. He is markedly improved from a year ago, no question about it, in terms of just the speed of seeing things and getting the ball to the right guy."

    But it's way too early for sweeping judgments. Martz knows that. Bulger knows that. So do his teammates. And so do most fans. The time for that will come soon enough, far removed from Western Illinois University.





  2. #2
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    And no disrespect to Warner, but you're not going to see Bulger at a table signing autographs for 45 minutes following every practice in training camp.
    Why is it there seems to be a campaign to take things that were positive about Warner and twist them into negative's? This story seems to imply that Warner was doing something wrong by making sure that anyone who wanted an autograph from him got one.

    The more they try and tell me that Marc Bulger's this great guy the more I question their motives. Martz and Bulger taking parting shots (apparently) at Warner doesn't help my perception either.

    "Now that I have a new contract, I'm pretty secure," Bulger said. "I can concentrate on football. I'm not going to go looking for things to do. When you get those few hours off, you need that to rest. You need that to get refreshed for the next week. And I think doing too many things would hurt this team rather than help it."
    "There's not going to be a table," Bulger said. "I don't have my own football card to give out (as Warner did), so I can't get the table going. ... I'll sign my share but I'm not going to go out looking or anything."
    "Football's his passion," Martz said. "It's pretty much his life right now, and he's not interested in anything else. He's squared away. He doesn't need those things. And I think that's the attraction of Marc to this football team. He's just one of the guys.
    Some wonder why those of us who still haven't completely let go of the whole Warner situation can't move on? Hey, if the coach and current qb still talk about it why can't I?

    As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to make that my new signature quote. "I'll sign my share but I'm not going to go out looking or anything." Truly, a qb for the fans.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    And Mok's campaign to demonize our starting quarterback by any means necessary continues with a vengence!
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    I'm not the one who wrote the article and printed in the paper. As long as the "Bulger's such a better choice than Warner" campaign continues I'll probably keep responding to it.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I'm not the one who wrote the article and printed in the paper.
    No, you're just the one blowing statements within the article entirely out of proportion. My bad.
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    He has never been about the glitter, the endorsements, the radio and TV shows.
    And I think doing too many things would hurt this team rather than help it."
    "There's not going to be a table," Bulger said. "I don't have my own football card to give out (as Warner did), so I can't get the table going. ... I'll sign my share but I'm not going to go out looking or anything."
    "Ultimately, that's what a football team wants. They don't want somebody that they can't relate to."
    It's hard to tell the intent and context of these responses, but they all COULD be referencing Kurt Warner. The last one about "don't want somebody that they can't relate to" bothers me somewhat. Maybe I'm being too critical, but that's the way I feel.

    If the team is trying to put Warner behind them, why not avoid comparisons or statements that MIGHT seem critical towards him? The fact that "no disrespect to Warner" has to even be said tells me without that disclaimer, it WOULD appear as disrespect to Warner.

    I'm sure I'll get over all this and let it go when the press and more importantly the team let it go.
    Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -08-01-2004 at 03:50 PM.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    No, you're just the one blowing statements within the article entirely out of proportion. My bad.
    The more they try and tell me that Marc Bulger's this great guy the more I question their motives. Martz and Bulger taking parting shots (apparently) at Warner doesn't help my perception either.
    Yeah, I really ripped them a new one with my statement didn't I? I haven't heard any defense of what was said, just that I must be an overexaggerating lunatic for pointing out what was said and giving my interpretation. I mean, those FULL statements that were quoted couldn't possibly be interpreted by a sane person the way I took them.

    I only based my opinion off of actual quotes. Silly me for not guessing at what they were thinking or what they actually meant.

    So, speaking of things continuing, the Bulger defense team, when confronted with something they don't agree with or can't defend simply fall back on calling Warner supporters extremists.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    HMMMMM? Well I think the statements speak for themselves. Not that difficult for me to read between the lines.

    Bulger isn't going to go out looking or anything....is that a message to the fans? I guess it remains to be seen, with that attitude or statement, whether the fans will come calling to begin with.



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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    Yeah, I really ripped them a new one with my statement didn't I? I haven't heard any defense of what was said, just that I must be an overexaggerating lunatic for pointing out what was said and giving my interpretation. I mean, those FULL statements that were quoted couldn't possibly be interpreted by a sane person the way I took them.

    I only based my opinion off of actual quotes. Silly me for not guessing at what they were thinking or what they actually meant.

    So, speaking of things continuing, the Bulger defense team, when confronted with something they don't agree with or can't defend simply fall back on calling Warner supporters extremists.
    It seems like a stretch in my opinion to say Martz and Bulger were taking shots at Warner. The press asked them questions, and they responded with their opinion. They didn't mention Kurt at all by name. The only references were when Marc was seemingly questioned about having a table to sign cards, and the writer edited in Warner's name. The basic point of the article was that Marc just likes playing the game and doesn't want to do all the other promotional things that he feels are distractions.

    I really wish people would just calm the heck down and not blow everything that's said out of the water like a German u-boat from the '40s. Do you honestly think Bulger and Martz are sitting there trying to take shots at Kurt? Really? I somehow doubt it. I think this is the sort of misunderstanding of words as Warner experienced with his religion comments in Feb. Although frankly I'm tempted to assume he got the benefit of the doubt at that time.

    But I guess people who want to see something negative will, no matter what. So nevermind me. I'll leave you to your pitchfork rally, Mok.
    Last edited by Nick; -08-01-2004 at 07:26 PM.
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    Nick, C'mon bro...Mok has a good point...the pitchfork comments are completely without merit

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    You seem to think I'm making stuff up. Did you read the quotes? I'm responding to actual comments not organizing a campaign. You seem to think that Martz and Bulger are just referencing some imaginary, hypothetical person in their quotes. I thiink they are being specific without actually using Warner's name.

    Since their quotes are somewhat specific I don't see how this is an exaggeration on my part.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    Mok, of course I read the quotes. I just don't see the petty undertone in them that you seem to see. What I see is Bulger and Martz answering reporter-initiated questions about how Marc is different from Kurt in a number of details. I don't see this as a jab at Kurt, but I see it as trying to elaborate on how Bulger's approach differs. I agree that Thomas could have phrased the "no disrespect to Warner" statement differently, but outside of that, I don't think there's anything that's

    Anyways, you're taking Marc's comments about not seeking out autograph opportunities after every team function as if it's him being an asshole, but the article makes it sound as if he's just doing what the rest of the team is... does that make them all anti-fan as well? It seems to me all Bulger is saying is that he's going to be more like the rest of the team. You make a comment about him not being a QB for the fans, despite the fact that Bulger joined Randy Moss in Charleston, WV, to sign autographs for children at a local event. Were you aware of that? Probably not, since you came to the conclusion that Marc doesn't go out of his way for the fans based on one debatable quote.

    The problem is that with today's coverage of sports, every comment gets blown out of the water. Like I said, I think this is the sort of misunderstanding of words as Warner experienced with his religion comments in Feb, which I'm sure he got the benefit of the doubt for at that time.

    Basically I think they're referencing Warner but aren't trying to take shots at him. They're just saying how Marc's going to be different because he's a different guy. I think the exaggeration on your part comes in when you're saying their intent was to blast Kurt. I don't think that was the case at all, but if you do, so be it. That's your prerogative I guess. :confused:
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    I think all he was saying is that he dosen't have his own card or no table like Warner. Nothing wrong with that. Warner had his own card for one reason, he was spreading a message and that was his outlet to do so. Which is perfectly fine. It's also perfectly fine for Bulger not to have a table. He didn't come out and say he wasn't going to sign. Shoot, if I was a pro athlete, anyone over the age of 16 wouldn't get an autograph from me. How do I know that they aren't a dealer and are going to make money off my signature and I don't get a dime for it?

    Here's a question, why are we as fans seeking out drama? Is it that difficult to let go of 13? Heck, I love Angelina Jolie but if she never made another movie I wouldn't be screaming about it.

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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    Quote Originally Posted by TxRamsfan
    He didn't come out and say he wasn't going to sign. Shoot, if I was a pro athlete, anyone over the age of 16 wouldn't get an autograph from me.
    This is exactly what Aeneas W. does. On Thurs. afternoon, I waited against the fence trying to get various autographs and Aeneas was the first to "run the autograph gauntlet". He signed for two kids to the left of me, skipped me and signed for a kid to the right of me. I thought to myself, I'm 6'4" 290 lbs, how did he not see me? Then I noticed that he was only signing for kids. That I could understand. So my wife took our 6-month-old to the other end of the fence and Aeneas quite graciously signed for her. He even stopped to play with my son for a little bit. I've heard there are others who have the same "kids only" policy, but Aeneas was the only one I experienced.

    Now for Bulger and the comments:
    1. Mok is right. The article does seem particularly anti-Warner. Simply because the article could have been written w/o ever mentioning Kurt's name. But it didn't. And writers who don't make disrespectful comments don't have to use phrases like...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thomas
    And no disrespect to Warner,
    But then again...
    2. Nick is right. I don't think Bulger was intentionally taking shots at Warner. I think his point was that he is taking every step to improve from last year. He has something to prove, and I think he knows it. And as far as him signing autographs, from what I saw, he signed for every person that wanted one. I didn't see him skip anybody.

    Bottom line. I think Thomas did take a few pot shots at Warner, but I don't think Bulger did. Martz...well, I'll stay out of that debate.
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    Re: There's no marked change in Marc Bulger

    This is what it comes down to for me. When Martz and Bulger make comments that are...let's say "questionable" just to be nice, some of you argue that you can't go by what was said, you have to interpret what they meant. Or, you just don't understand what the reporter was asking and Martz or Bulger were "forced" into answering because they were on the spot.

    Well, that's all nonsense. If I can figure out how to wiggle out of a question then these guys with their publicists can figure out what to say, not to say or say nothing at all. If a reporter asks me (assuming I'm Martz) "How does Bulger compare to Warner in his training camp habits?" I think it would be fairly easy to say something like: "Bulger is his own man. He approaches practices with a passion and dedication that gives me reason for excitement for this year. If he continues to improve, the sky's the limit, etc., etc."

    What's so hard about that? Deflection and misdirection are rudementary aspects of taking the conversation where you want it to go yet these millionaires can't handle it? Media interaction and public image are both subjects that, in this day and age, are focused on by the NFL. I can't believe that these guys wouldn't be able to handle the high pressure questions presented to them on opening day of training camp. Cuz you know the whole sports world is watching right at that moment.

    Also, I'm not sure if some of you have been out in the real world recently but I'm going to let you in on a secret--people screw people over all the time. Especially in the work place and on a rare occasion, if millions of dollars are involved. To argue that Martz and Bulger are unfeeling robots and had no personal interest in what happened to Warner is laughable. I think Kurt Warner's great but if someone told me that they were giving me a choice between 15 million dollars or sitting on the bench making the league minimum if he stays, guess what? I'd have 15 million in my bank account.

    I give Martz a lot more credit when it comes to being driven by ego or personal feelings and don't put anything past him in that arena. Bulger doesn't seem to be that type of guy but he's not fan friendly either. And defending Bulger by assoiciating him with Randy Moss is hilarious to me. Why not just go all the way and say he was playing golf with O.J., so he must be a great guy.

    I understand quotes can be interpreted in more than one way so I'm not going to go so far as saying the quotes from this article are absolute, but I think they are telling to say the least. When's the last time anyone out there heard a player comment on how many autographs he was going to sign? I can't remember anyone else on the list. I understand that these guys will sign a handful of them in most cases and don't have time to sign ALL of them. Warner was an exception and somewhat unique in that he made a point to try and sign all of them. I don't hold it against Bulger for not doing the same, but making the comment he did (see my signature) makes him look like an ass. It may be what all NFL players think but no one is bright enough to articulate it to the press. That's why Bulger doesn't get his gold star for the day on that one.

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