Torry Holt: Quiet excellence
Torry Holt: Quiet excellence
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Oct. 02 2005
Cell phone hidden in the goal post padding? Nope. Sharpie pen stuffed in a
sock? No way. Fake mooning of the crowd? Not a chance.
"That type of stuff, that's not me," Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said.
"That's just not my deal." Because he eschews the kind of antics that other NFL
wideouts favor to shower themselves with notoriety, Holt usually remains at the
edge of the spotlight, and he's perfectly comfortable there.
"I don't necessarily need all that stuff to get me going or to solidify my
position in the National Football League," he said. "I'm here to ... win
ballgames and win championships. As long as I can continue to do that and stay
healthy, and ... stay consistent, then I'm fine with that."
While others try to grab time on TV, Holt just keeps trying to grab footballs.
The seventh-year veteran heads into Sunday's game at Giants Stadium as the
league's leader in receiving yards (358) and tied for first in receptions (23).
After three games last year, he had one more catch and seven fewer yards. He
finished the regular season with 94 catches for 1,372 yards, fourth in the NFL
in both categories. It marked the fifth successive season that Holt had topped
1,300 yards, a feat never before achieved.
But you won't hear Holt crowing about his accomplishments or talking trash. He
keeps his mouth shut and leaves the evaluation to others.
"Torry is happy who he is," said coach Mike Martz, the offensive coordinator
when the Rams drafted Holt in the first round (No. 6 overall) in 1999. "He
doesn't care about the attention. ... You've seen him in practice; he's like a
little kid running around here. He just loves to play."
Besides, Holt's mother, Ojetta Holt-Shoffner, didn't raise her three children
to be shameless self-promoters. Torry learned that at a tender age.
"When I was growing up, I used to do my little thing and show the other teams
up. They started to call me 'Hotdog.' And I remember my mom saying, 'One day,
that stuff's going to catch up with you,'" said Holt, 29. "When she said that,
I kind of (decided to) just play the game ... let my play do my talking for me."
With his easy smile, Holt added: "Plus, going out there and talking and all
that, it makes you tired. I don't have all that energy to be doing that."
Though he makes millions now, Holt has seen the other side. His father, Odell
Shoffner, worked two jobs, and his mother labored in a yarn mill. The family
lived in a modest apartment. During summers as a youngster, Torry earned $5 an
hour picking tobacco from 7 a.m. until noon, a back-breaking task that left him
covered with a sticky sap. After a quick shower, he reported for a full shift
at a fast-food restaurant.
The discipline and humility that his family instilled were reinforced during a
year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., after high school. He was
there because he hadn't yet achieved a high enough SAT score to play NCAA
Division I football. Holt described his time at Hargrave as a "humbling
He said players were under orders not to do any personal rejoicing on the
field. "It was score, give the ball back to the ref, run over with your other
cadets, and you guys celebrate," Holt said. He boosted his test score and was
on scholarship the next year at North Carolina State, where he became an
After four Pro Bowls, Holt might be able to cruise a bit. But backup Shaun
McDonald said he has seen none of that. Instead, he has noticed Holt and Isaac
Bruce - also a four-time Pro Bowler - are constantly refining their skills.
"They still put in the time, like they haven't done anything on the field,"
With Bruce expected to miss Sunday's game because of a toe injury, Holt
probably will get added attention from the Giants defenders. Recalling a game a
few years ago in Buffalo when Holt was triple-teamed but still was effective,
Martz expressed no worries.
"He can shoulder the load in the passing game if he has to," Martz said. "And
by that I mean, you can isolate him and where they're doubling him, he's going
to get free one way or another. ... And that's a rare quality."
According to quarterback Marc Bulger, Holt has developed into "a complete
receiver; he can do it all." And that, Holt stressed, is the ultimate
compliment. "I didn't want to just be known as a guy that can go deep or a guy
that just comes in on third downs or just runs this route. I wanted to be able
to do everything," he said. "I take a great deal of in pride in trying to be a
guy that can run routes, a guy that can catch balls, a guy that can block."
While Holt last week was shredding the befuddled Tennessee secondary for nine
catches and 163 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown grab, a veteran NFL
observer said, "I don't care what anybody says; he's the best receiver in the
league." Holt didn't embrace that endorsement. But he didn't dismiss it,
either. "I think I've been one of the most consistent receivers in the league.
But to say I'm the best ... I don't know," he said. "I'm just trying to keep my
nose to the ground, stay humble, stay focused, stay positive and just try to
continue to make plays."
Re: Torry Holt: Quiet excellence
What a class act. Glad he's a RAM !!!!!!