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  • Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line

    Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/10/2004





    MACOMB, Ill. - Little more than a month remains before the Rams' regular-season opener, against Arizona. And what arguably is the NFL's best offensive tackle tandem remains nowhere in sight.

    Nothing has changed on the Orlando Pace front. The team's franchise player has yet to sign his one-year, $7 million tender - the first step towards any long-term contract, much less a Pace appearance on the practice field.

    But some clarity is coming soon on the Kyle Turley front. The Rams expect to see the report from Dr. Robert Watkins, the nationally-known back specialist from Los Angeles, in the next day or two. That report should shed light on the severity of Turley's back injury, and help define when he might return.

    Turley has a slight herniation of a disc in his lower back - in the same disc on which he had surgery in March. After aggravating the back early in training camp, Turley left Macomb on Aug. 1 - and hasn't been back since. He has seen a doctor in St. Louis, and Watkins in Los Angeles for further evaluation. But contrary to earlier reports, Turley will not see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews, however, will receive a copy of Watkins' findings for review.

    When Turley last spoke with reporters before leaving Macomb, he called the latest setback career-threatening, and also indicated that he would be unwilling to have any further surgery.

    There have been rumors, so far unconfirmed, that Turley has told close friends that he will sit out the season. Neither Turley nor Turley agent's - Tom Condon - could be reached by the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

    When asked Monday if he was optimistic about Turley's return this season, coach Mike Martz said: "I don't know. I don't know what to think because we don't have all the facts from the doctors."

    Some of Turley's teammates are bracing for the worst.

    "I don't think Kyle, even best-case scenario, is going to be back for a while," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "With the bulging disc story, I'd be surprised if he's back this year. But I haven't heard an official word."

    Quarterback Marc Bulger said he experienced some back problems early in his college career, so he has an inkling of what Turley must be going through.

    "Those things take time, and they're confusing," Bulger said. "When you're dealing with a back, you never know what to expect."

    Meanwhile, the Pace contract impasse remains stuck in neutral. With each day that passes in training camp, his situation is looking more and more like a sequel to 2003, when Pace skipped all of training camp, then signed his franchise tender in time to play in the final exhibition game.

    President of football operations Jay Zygmunt confirmed Tuesday that the Rams have had no contact with Pace or his agent - Carl Poston - since a negotiating blackout period ended in mid July.

    From the Rams' standpoint, any chance for a long-term contract for Pace hinges on him signing the one-year tender. Without that happening, the Rams risk losing the right to use the franchise designation on any player over the length of any long-term contract with Pace under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

    "As long as he comes in at a point where he knows he's going to be ready to play, I don't think it's a huge deal," Timmerman said. "In fact, giving a couple (other) guys some more reps at practice isn't a terrible thing, as long as they're just not getting killed."

    But Pace's absence, coupled with several injuries, has left the Rams with less than 10 healthy offensive linemen the past couple of days at practice. As a result, the Rams haven't had enough healthy bodies to field a full first- and second-team line. Given the injuries, wouldn't Martz like to see Pace on the practice field as soon as possible?

    "Yeah absolutely," Martz said. "But there's not a whole lot I can do about that."

    There are some in Rams camp who feel Pace's absence has less to do with economics than the simple fact that he doesn't care for training camp in Macomb.

    "I think we all expect him to come back like he did last year," Bulger said. "As long as we get him back for that first week, I don't think anyone's going to be worried. I think this is one of those situations where he has to do what he has to do."



    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line

    With Bulger the full time QB on Opening Day and a rookie RB, the line makes me very nervous, especially at the bookends.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line

      If Orlando Pace is still holding out by opening day, I'll change my sig pic to a picture of Jabba the Hut.

      Comment

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      • RamWraith
        No Turley, no Pace, no peace
        by RamWraith
        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        08/01/2004

        Right tackle Kyle Turley is a cornerstone in the Rams offense, one of a handful of veterans the unit is built upon.

        And now he is shelved by a nagging back injury that has him fretting about his future. Turley returned to St. Louis on Sunday for further testing and may head to Los Angeles to meet with a back specialist.

        So much for the notion that offseason disc surgery fixed his problem.

        "It was a threat to my career last year," Turley told reporters in Macomb, Ill. "For it to have possibly reoccurred is definitely a bigger threat."

        Uh, oh. You hate to see words like "threat" and "career" in the same quote, especially when back injuries are being discussed.

        Ever since reliable Fred Miller exited as a free agent after Super Bowl 34, the Rams have struggled to fill the right tackle position. Sometimes, successor Ryan Tucker dominated . . . and sometimes he got manhandled.

        Tucker, too, departed as a free agent. That ushered in the ill-fated John St. Clair Era. After the ironically nicknamed "Beast" flopped miserably, the Rams turned to Turley.

        They acquired him from New Orleans last year for a second-round pick, then locked him up with a five-year, $26.5 million contract extension with $12 million of that money guaranteed.

        He and Orlando Pace were impressive bookends on a Rams offensive line that got stronger as the 2004 season progressed. Their forceful play created high hopes for the unit coming into this season.

        Now Turley is sidelined and Pace remains out of camp as an unsigned franchise player. Grant Williams is holding down the fort at left tackle and right tackle is a grab bag. Utility lineman Ryan Schau could become a capable fill-in, but he, too, has been limited by a back problem.

        So what's the answer now? Scott Tercero? Greg Randall?

        Furthermore, center Dave Wohlabaugh must take it easy while recovering from offseason hip surgery. That moves Andy McCollum back to center and puts inexperienced guard Andy King on the first unit.

        Rams fans have every reason to fret about this unit. This mighty offense will sputter without sturdy run and pass blocking.

        When the Air Martz passing game is clicking, it dares opponents to blitz. But if the pass protections falter and blitzes are not read correctly, the quarterback gets hammered.

        With Chris Chandler backing up Marc Bulger these days, the Rams don't have any margin for error.

        The Rams came to camp looking to build a more consistent ground game in 2004. The addition of first-round pick Steven Jackson, a punishing runner, will allow the team to grind out more yardage between the tackles,

        If the line does its job, that is....
        -08-02-2004, 08:12 AM
      • RamDez
        Rams fin e without Turley and Pace ---- so far
        by RamDez
        By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer

        August 13, 2004

        ST. LOUIS (AP) -- So far, the St. Louis Rams are doing just fine without their two bookend offensive tackles.

        It would have been logical for quarterback Marc Bulger be concerned before the preseason opener, considering Orlando Pace is holding out again and Kyle Turley hasn't practiced since re-injuring his surgically repaired back early in training camp.

        But Bulger was hit only twice in the first quarter in a 13-10 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, when the first team was on the field. So the concerns about the makeshift alignment eased.

        ``They did a fantastic job,'' Bulger said. ``I didn't have too many pressures, and the one sack was a hot route.''

        Grant Williams stepped in for Pace, as he's done in the past. Scott Tercero, a sixth-round pick last year who missed the entire season with a knee injury, was solid at Turley's right tackle spot.

        Andy McCollum, who has moved from guard to center while Dave Wohlabaugh recovers from hip surgery, is more experienced at center, anyway. And Andy King, who has minimal NFL experience and played in only one game last year, was solid at McCollum's left guard spot.

        ``They came through fine,'' coach Mike Martz said. ``I really watched the offensive line in the first half as much as I could. The protection held up well.''

        Right guard Adam Timmerman helped hold things together with a quick recovery from a nerve injury to his neck and back. A cortisone shot Wednesday helped matters.

        ``I was a little sore, but we don't have a lot of numbers,'' Timmerman said.

        ``I took a few days off and it's feeling pretty good.

        ``Hopefully, it all kicks in.''

        Help is definitely on the way. It is just a matter of time before Pace, designated as the franchise player for the second straight year, agrees to a one-year tender offer and joins the team.

        Team doctors are hopeful that Turley will be back soon after he visited two specialists. Turley roamed the sideline in street clothes during the game, although he didn't stick around afterward.

        ``I didn't get any details from him,'' McCollum said. ``I think he wanted to escape before you guys (the media) grabbed him.''



        Updated on Friday, Aug 13, 2004 1:23 pm EDT

        -08-14-2004, 02:34 AM
      • RamWraith
        Turley goes on IR, is out for season
        by RamWraith
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Saturday, Aug. 28 2004

        A veteran offensive tackle made news Saturday at Rams Park. But, no, it wasn't
        Orlando Pace, whose arrival is expected soon but hasn't taken place just yet.

        The report involved Kyle Turley, and it actually only made the inevitable
        official: Rams coach Mike Martz announced that Turley had been placed on the
        injured reserve list, meaning that he'll be sidelined for the season.

        Turley, a seven-year NFL veteran, underwent surgery in March for a bulging disc
        in his back. He sat out team drills at minicamp in May but participated fully
        when training camp workouts began July 28 at Western Illinois University. After
        three days of practice, Turley felt pain in the same area and soon thereafter
        left Macomb, Ill., for tests.

        His agent, Tom Condon, told the Post-Dispatch last week that Turley "herniated
        the same disc, and he's got a bulging disc above that. It's just a matter of
        what you do about it." Turley was obtained in a March 2003 trade with New
        Orleans and he was signed to a six-year, $30 million contract. The Rams gave up
        a second-round pick in this year's draft as part of that deal.

        Turley will count $2.36 million against the salary cap this year.

        A somewhat tight-lipped Martz said Saturday that he didn't know what Turley,
        28, might do about his back. "I talked to Kyle today, and he was very vague
        about his plans," Martz said. When asked whether Turley's loss would be a blow
        to the offensive line, Martz said simply, "I'm happy with the guys we have."

        Grant Williams, a nine-year veteran who has been filling in for Pace at left
        tackle, probably will slide over to Turley's spot on the right side once Pace
        shows up. Although Martz said Williams "had his best game so far" Friday night
        in a 28-3 victory over Washington, he could face a challenge from Scott
        Tercero, who has had a strong preseason at right tackle.

        Andy McCollum is set at center, as is Adam Timmerman at right guard. Chris
        Dishman, a free agent signed during camp, apparently has nailed down the left
        guard job.


        Loyd goes down

        Joining Turley on injured reserve is linebacker Jeremy Loyd, who suffered a
        torn pectoral tendon Friday night on a special-teams play. Martz said that Loyd
        would have surgery and that rehabilitation would take three to four months.



        Rams make cuts

        Six players were released Saturday: tight end Nick Burley, wide receiver
        Michael Coleman, cornerback Robert Cromartie, quarterback Russ Michna,
        defensive tackle Justin Montgomery and cornerback Corey Yates.
        ...
        -08-29-2004, 08:29 AM
      • RamWraith
        Turley leaves camp to get ailing back checked
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        08/02/2004
        MACOMB, Ill. - A disappointed and frustrated Kyle Turley headed back to St. Louis on Sunday for further tests and evaluation of a back problem that doesn't seem to want to go away.

        Meanwhile, the Rams are bringing in reinforcements for an offensive line that has been short-handed since the start of training camp. Offensive tackle Greg Randall arrived in Macomb early Sunday evening for a physical, and later was signed to a one-year contract. He is on the practice field this morning.

        Randall started 16 games for the Houston Texans last year. He played his first three seasons in the NFL for the New England Patriots, and started at right tackle in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams.

        The Rams also were attempting to bring in guard-center Chris Dishman, the former Arizona Cardinal, to help their depth on the interior of the line. But as of Sunday evening, the Rams had been unable to contact Dishman, causing some team officials to wonder if he was still interested in playing.

        Before heading to St. Louis, Turley told reporters that he considered the latest setback career threatening.

        "It was a threat to my career last year," Turley said. "But for it to have possibly reoccurred is definitely a bigger threat."

        Turley experienced nagging pain in his hip last season. After the season, the source of the pain was diagnosed as a herniated disk in his lower back, and Turley underwent surgery in March.

        Coach Mike Martz pronounced Turley fit at the outset of camp, but Turley has practiced only about half the time over the first five days here at Western Illinois University because of back pain.

        "I came out here in hopes of everything being OK," Turley said. "And everything kind of felt fine. But I went through the first day of practice, and it didn't seem like it was completely right.

        "I expressed my feelings about it. The idea was to come back out and see how it goes. We did it, and I don't know if that was necessarily the right thing to do."

        In addition to getting checked out in St. Louis, Turley said he might see a specialist in Los Angeles.

        "We're attacking it right now, with some heavy anti-inflammatories," he said. "And we're going to see these people and see what they have to say."

        Turley had an MRI Saturday in Macomb and termed the results "not good."

        Turley added, "I'm not doing the surgery again. I'm not going through that again."

        With or without surgery, Turley is concerned that any additional deterioration of the disk won't leave much cushion between the vertebrae.

        "The biggest fear is bone on bone," Turley said. "I don't want that to happen and be a hunchback...
        -08-02-2004, 07:52 AM
      • RamDez
        Rams' Turley says he may retire
        by RamDez


        Rams' Turley says he may retire


        BY STEVE KORTE

        Knight Ridder Newspapers



        ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - Offensive tackle Kyle Turley, who will sit out the entire 2004 season for the St. Louis Rams due to a back injury, is mulling retirement.

        The 28-year-old Turley left training camp three weeks ago to seek out the opinion of several back specialists, and was told that he will likely require a second operation on the herniated disc in his back if he ever wants to return to the football field.

        If Turley opts for the operation, he probably wouldn`t be healthy enough to play until midway through the 2005 season.

        ESPN.com reported that Turley`s friends say he is not yet mentally prepared for the rigors of such a lengthy rehabilitation.

        There`s also no guarantee that the surgery will permanently correct Turley`s chronic back problems.

        Turley, appearing on Fox Sports Net`s "Best Damn Sports Show Period" on Thursday, said it was 50-50 whether he`d ever play again.

        "There`s the quality of life after football," Turley said in an interview on FSN Midwest. "I want to be able to pick my kids up when I`m 40 years old and carry them around."

        Turley failed to return several telephone calls from Rams coach Mike Martz in the week after he left training camp.

        "At the time, when things we`re going on, and Mike came on the air and talked about how I didn`t call him back, I was traveling around," Turley said. "And, it was a situation that I had not been used to dealing with. I was angry in some cases that this (injury) happened again and in other cases very disheartened. I didn`t return a lot of telephone calls."

        If Turley does retire, the Rams could seek the return of a portion of the $10 million signing bonus he received when they acquired him in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in March, 2003.

        Turley has been placed on injured reserve for this season. He`ll count $2.36 million against the Rams` salary cap for 2004.

        Turley was a model of durability before the back injury. He had missed only one game in six previous NFL seasons.

        The loss of Turley and center Dave Wohlabaugh, who was released after failing to comeback from off-season hip surgery, was a big blow for the Rams` offensive line.

        Compounding matters is the holdout of Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace, who has yet to sign the one-year, $7.05 million tender as the team`s franchise agent.

        The Rams are in the process of finalizing their roster. They must trim 12 players by 3 p.m. on Sunday to get down to the NFL regular-season limit of 53 players....
        -09-05-2004, 05:59 AM
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