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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Turk Hoping to Return, Build on 'Best' Season

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer



    For the better part of the Rams’ time in St. Louis, the punting position has been nothing short of a revolving door.

    Names like Reggie Hodges, Kevin Stemke, Bryan Barker and Mitch Berger have come and gone with none leaving much of an indelible imprint. And none performed well enough to make their stay more than a veritable stopover in St. Louis.

    When the Rams signed Matt Turk to a one-year deal last offseason, it appeared that perhaps the signing would be little more than another holdover until the next guy came along.

    Make no mistake, Turk had experience and had performed well in the league, but he was coming off a serious groin injury that kept him out all of the 2005 season. Additionally, Turk would be 36 when the 2006 season started.

    By the end of the year, though, Turk had proved he was back with a vengeance and could be more of a long-term solution than first thought. That became clear during what Turk calls one of his finest seasons in the NFL.

    “I was talking with my wife about that (at season’s end) and I honestly believe it was my best year,” Turk said. “We were one punt from being my first punt team to net 40 and if you take that (Nate Burleson’s return for a touchdown in Week 10) and the blocked punt (in Week 16) out, we are above 40 in net average. That has been my goal my whole career.”

    The fact that Turk was even on the field to have his best season was, in itself, a bit of a surprise. After missing all of last season because of the groin injury, Turk was in Miami rehabilitating when he drove past coach Scott Linehan’s house soon after Linehan took the Rams’ coaching job.

    Turk stopped when he saw Linehan outside his house and told him he was working to get back to health and if the Rams needed a punter he’d be ready. Sure enough, Turk was ready for training camp and Linehan gave him the invitation he wanted.

    Turk beat out Andy Groom for the job in the preseason and never looked back.

    “I was just really excited and ready to play football after sitting out for a whole year,” Turk said. I felt great and you know the old saying that you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone and sitting out a year with a groin injury, not being able to play and really coming back this year made me appreciate my craft and made me appreciate what I do for a living. It really rejuvenated me and makes me want to go out and work harder this offseason so I can be even better next year.”

    Turk brought the revolving door known as the Rams’ punting job to a stop with the best and most consistent performance by a St. Louis punter in years. His hang time, directional skills and leg strength were as good as anyone around.

    By the end of the year, Turk had a net average of 38.3 yards, good for seventh in the league. Along the way, Turk fell in love with St. Louis and the Rams’ organization.

    “It was really a pleasant surprise to come here not knowing what to expect and then to be able to come to an organization like the Rams, which is really a first-class organization,” Turk said. “I can tell this team is ready to do some good things. I am a loyal person and I appreciate the Rams signing me, giving me a job again and getting my foot back in the door in the league and hopefully now I can help get them to the next level.”

    Helping the Rams reach the next level will come down to a matter of Turk’s returning to St. Louis next season. According to the new collective bargaining agreement, unrestricted free agents can’t negotiate contracts with any team (including their most recent) until the free agent signing period begins on March 2.

    That means Turk will hit the open market before St. Louis can have an opportunity to retain him for next season. But Turk expects and hopes to be back in St. Louis.

    “I think once that time comes, hopefully we will be able to get something done,” Turk said.

    After spending all of last offseason simply trying to get in good enough shape to play, Turk can now spend this offseason refining his skills and improving to build on his impressive season.

    “I feel like I had my best year, but I still feel like now that I have an offseason to work on some things instead of just rehabbing like I did all last offseason, I will be able to come in and be better than I was last year,” Turk said.


  2. #2
    Drew Guest

    Re: Turk Hoping to Return, Build on 'Best' Season

    i dont care how old the guy is they gotta re-sign him he hit the spot time after time whatever kind of punt was required!
    lets hope we can capitalize more on his talent next year and until he quits football!

  3. #3
    DieHard23's Avatar
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    Re: Turk Hoping to Return, Build on 'Best' Season

    i believe we are very luck to have one of the best at one of the most underrated postions in football.

    and for pete's sake, will somebody try him at linebacker!!!

  4. #4
    tomahawk247's Avatar
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    Re: Turk Hoping to Return, Build on 'Best' Season

    give him a three year contract

    punters and kickers can play on till they are 40 odd, and it doesnt look like he is losing any leg strength

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