Monday, Nov. 03, 2008
Vermeil's name added to Ring of Honor at Jones Dome
Several Rams hurt in game
BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS -- Former St. Louis Rams coach Dick Vermeil wrote his halftime speech on a couple of small slips of paper instead of memorizing it because he was worried about breaking down into tears and forgetting his train of thought.

"I'm struggling right now," said Vermeil as he spoke with reporters prior to the Rams' game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. "I'm just so damn emotional. It is going to be tough to face these people and say it how it needs to be said."

Vermeil's name was added to the Ring of Honor at the Edward Jones Dome during a halftime ceremony, and he nearly made it through his speech before getting a little choked up.
Former Rams coach and Grant Wistrom share a moment as Vermeil is honored Sunday. - Steve Nagy/BND

It was Vermeil's emotional nature that still endears him to his former players and Rams fans nine years after he guided the Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans.

"You tend to get back the emotion from a person that you give to them," Vermeil said. "It usually comes back. When they really buy in, a bond develops, and it lasts for a lifetime. It's a great thing. It's the bond, and you don't buy it, you earn it."

Former Rams players Grant Wistrom, Tom Nutten, Mike Gruttadauria and Roland Williams were among the players on the stage with Vermeil, his wife, Carol, and Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez during the halftime ceremony.

Another key member of the Super Bowl XXXIV squad, quarterback Kurt Warner, was busy playing quarterback for the Cardinals against the Rams.

"When Scott Linehan and I started talking about this -- he was the guy who initiated the conversation -- he asked if there was a particular game that I'd like to do this," Vermeil said. " I said, 'I know you're playing Kurt Warner and Arizona in early November. I'd love Kurt to be there because he deserves it more than I do."'

Warner said he regretted not seeing the halftime ceremony honoring Vermeil.

"That is probably the only bad part of this (day)," Warner said after leading the Cardinals to a 34-13 win. "I got a chance to speak with coach earlier in the week and have dinner together, which was nice. I wish I could have been out there for it. Other than that, it was a great day. I got to see old acquintances from over the years."

Vermeil said he considered having his name added to the Ring of Honor as a tribute to every person in the Rams organization who played a part in team's world championship season in 1999.

"It's relection on everybody, not just me," Vermeil said. "I'm the symbol that they use to highlight what was done, but everybody that was here knows how much they all contributed to it. I hope all the Rams employees when they walk into this stadium and see my name, they feel like part of it."

Injury report

Running back Travis Minor sustained a concussion early in the game. He didn't return.

Wide receiver Dante Hall suffered a sprained ankle, opening the door for Derek Stanley to return punts and kickoffs for most of the second half.

Right guard Jacob Bell left the game in the first half after taking a hit to his abdomen.

"I'm not sure of the extrent of the injury, but he was in pain when he left," Haslett said.

Chris Draft has a strained foot, while running back Antonio Pittman injured his hamstring muscle.

Quick hits

The Rams' inactives were: cornerback Tye Hill, running back Kenneth Darby, safety Todd Johnson, guard Roy Schuening, tackle John Greco, wide receivers Drew Bennett and Dane Looker and third-string quarterback Brock Berlin.

• Defensive end James Hall had the Rams' lone sack of the game. He now has 3.5 sacks on the season.

• Warner registered his 45th career 300-yard passing game. It was his 15th 300-yard game with the Cardinals, putting him four behind Neil Lomax's franchise record of 19 300-yard games.

• The Cardinals had a huge advantage in time of possession as they had the ball for 38 minutes, 38 seconds compared to 21 minutes, 22 seconds for the Rams.

• The Cardinals have won four straight games against the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome, marking their longest winning streak at any road venue since beating the Philadelphia Eagles in six straight games at Veteran's Stadium from 1973-78.