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Vitt is in hospital with infection
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
After going 4-7 as interim head coach, Vitt has been ruled out as a candidate in the Rams' coaching search.
His three-month stint as the Rams' interim head coach over, Joe Vitt embarked on another task Monday night: He entered a hospital for treatment of a staph infection that has lingered since the preseason.
"I've been fighting it, and it's not better yet," said Vitt, who has been taking antibiotics to keep the effects of the infection on his left hand in check while he completed his duties.
Vitt, who is expected to be hospitalized for about five days, said he didn't believe his condition was serious. "No, I was more worried about the win (Sunday) night," he said. "But we'll find out."
The infection first surfaced in late August. Vitt spent 48 hours in a hospital after the team returned from San Diego after a preseason game. Rams broadcaster Jack Snow remains in critical condition with a staph infection.
The Rams finished their season with a 20-10 victory Sunday night in Dallas. They were 4-7 under Vitt, who was hired by Mike Martz in 2004 as assistant head coach and linebackers coach.
On Monday, a few hours after he fired Martz, team president John Shaw said at a news conference that while he appreciated Vitt's efforts during Martz's absence because of a heart valve infection, he planned to look elsewhere for a new head coach.
Shaw declined to elaborate on why Vitt wouldn't be a candidate. "I think Joe under the circumstances did a great job for us," Shaw said. "It's just that we really don't consider him a candidate right now."
Vitt, 51, declined to say later Monday whether he wanted the job. "It really doesn't matter whether I want to be a candidate," he said. "My resume has been out there for the last 11 weeks. We didn't get accomplished what we wanted to get done. Like I told the players, we're all being evaluated."
The Rams were 2-3 in early October when Martz began an indefinite leave for treatment of endocarditis and Vitt was given the interim title. Two weeks later, Martz announced that his illness would keep him out for the rest of the season.
As Martz's relationship with the front office deteriorated, Vitt battled to hold the team together. A 24-21 win over Jacksonville sent the Rams into their bye week at 4-4. But the season unraveled over the final eight weeks.
Despite snapping a four-game losing streak Sunday night, the Rams finished 6-10. It's their worst mark since going 4-12 in 1998, a year before their march to the Super Bowl championship. Martz took over for Dick Vermeil in 2000, and the Rams made the playoffs four of the next five seasons.
Despite the second-half difficulties, Vitt said, "I wouldn't trade the experience for all the money in the world. I'll always been indebted for the opportunity." Vitt also indicated that he'd like to remain with the Rams and that someday he might be inclined to pursue a head-coaching job.
For now, Vitt and the Rams' 17 other assistant coaches are in limbo. The contracts of some, including Vitt, expire next month, but others have longer deals. Shaw said that for now, all would remain in the Rams' employ and perform their usual offseason tasks.
"No one's going to be fired at this time. We will honor all the contracts," Shaw said. "They will be involved with evaluations of the present team. I anticipate we'll send most of the coaches to the Senior Bowl," scheduled for Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.
Once Martz's successor is in place, however, their future will be in his hands. "I'm hopeful that they'll be given an opportunity to be interviewed with whoever the new head coach is," Shaw said. "I would expect some would be retained by the new head coach. It's difficult to go out and find 18 new position coaches. But that's entirely up to the new head coach."
Re: Vitt is in hospital with infection"No one's going to be fired at this time. We will honor all the contracts," Shaw said. "They will be involved with evaluations of the present team. I anticipate we'll send most of the coaches to the Senior Bowl," scheduled for Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.
For example, let's say (I'm just grabbing a name here), Kollar goes to the senior bowl and Bubba Bigtooth from Backwoods St. looks really good. Kollar does all the due dilligence on this kid and sees that he could benefit the Rams in the 3rd round.
Does he pass that information on to the Rams knowing he probably won't be a Rams coach in 2006 or does he save it and take it with him on his next gig? If I'm him or any other coach, I'm taking that to the next team that employs me."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
Re: Vitt is in hospital with infection
Yeah I agree with you, I think some of these guys will still be here, Henry E. long time Ram WR and WR coach, why would you let him go. But as a scout why would you care.
-01-03-2006 #4SFCRamFan Guest
Re: Vitt is in hospital with infection
Hey Hub, don't knock Bubba Bigtooth! Mel Kiper has him listed as a real sleeper with his 4.35 40 and ability to plug the gaps...
Seriously, I agree. More posturing and disfunction from the owners suite.
On Vitt: This season seems to have had a really bad effect on the personnel within or associated with the organization. Maybe our next coach needs to take a physical and have stress tests performed before being considered for the job!