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  • When Rams send out SOS, Nutten answers the call

    When Rams send out SOS, Nutten answers the call
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/21/2004


    *
    Had 31 other NFL teams called Tom Nutten about coming out of retirement, the answer would have been short and not so sweet.

    "Obviously, I'd say 'hell, no,'" Nutten said Friday at Rams Park
    But it wasn't any old team calling Nutten on Wednesday. It was the Rams, for whom he had played five seasons - including four as a starting left guard - and started two Super Bowls.

    So how could he say "hell, no" to them?

    "These are the guys I've bled with, I've sweated with," Nutten said.

    He was sweating with them again Friday afternoon after his first practice with the club.

    "I still have a hard time believing that I'm here," Nutten, 33, said. "I have a long way to go. But I made the commitment. I do believe that it's do-able. I'm here to help out in any way or shape I can."

    Nutten signed with the New York Jets in March 2003 as an unrestricted free agent. But he didn't make it through training camp last summer. Slowed by an elbow injury, Nutten told Jets coach Herman Edwards on Aug. 15 last year that he was retiring. In the process, Nutten returned his Jets signing bonus of $600,000, which is more than the $535,000 base salary he will earn this season after signing a one-year deal with the Rams.

    Over the past year, Nutten got in some family time with his wife and son in the Tampa, Fla., area - their permanent residence. But he kept his hand in football, too. This spring, Nutten returned to Germany, where he grew up, to work as an assistant coach for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe. He covered Super Bowl XXXVIII last season for German television. He was scheduled to leave today for Germany, where he was to run a youth football camp.

    But then the Rams called.

    "And then it happened quite quickly," Nutten said. "With my history, they had to do a couple of medical checkups, which apparently I passed, thank God."

    Besides the elbow problems, Nutten had battled a nagging ankle problem for much of his career. But he feels fresh after the year off. He weighed in at about 280 pounds, 20 pounds lighter than his normal playing weight.

    "Just to physically keep up, I definitely need about five or 10 pounds," Nutten said. "And obviously strength will come with that."

    Eventually, Nutten will figure into the left guard mix with Chris Dishman, Andy King and perhaps Scott Tercero. But it's going to take awhile.

    "Tommy's a ways away, obviously, from being ready to play," coach Mike Martz said Friday. "We'll see. When it is, it is."



    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Nutten is ready for his encore
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    11/17/2004

    There was a time late in Sunday's game against Seattle when Mike Martz looked out at the Rams' offensive huddle from the sideline and saw the numbers 76, 61, 67, 62. . . .

    "It just brought back old memories," Martz said.

    Suddenly it was 2001 all over again.

    For much of the Greatest Show on Turf period - those three seasons of 500-plus points from 1999 through 2001 - offensive linemen Orlando Pace, Tom Nutten, Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman did much of the heavy lifting for the Rams' high-wire act.

    Now, a succession of injuries at left guard has brought Nutten all the way back - from retirement to the Rams' starting lineup.

    "It's like old times," said McCollum, the Rams' center. "He's back. I don't know if you watched him much at the (Seattle) game, but he looked really good. Like his old self."

    With Scott Tercero a pregame scratch because of a shoulder injury, Nutten was the Rams' next option when Chris Dishman went down early in the third quarter with a knee injury. Dishman tried to return later in the quarter, but after a couple of plays gave way for good to Nutten.

    For Nutten, 33, it was his first extended playing time in two years.

    "It felt strange, but it felt good at the same time," he said. "It felt natural. There were a lot of emotions that I went through."

    Tercero was put on the injured reserve list Tuesday, ending his season, and he will need surgery on the shoulder. Dishman suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury that won't require surgery but will sideline him for four to six weeks.

    So as the Rams continue their drive for the playoffs, they are counting on Nutten to fill the void at left guard, perhaps for the rest of the regular season.

    "I'm pretty excited," he said Wednesday. "I think somebody said 'anxious' is a good word. We're just starting our work week, so I've got to settle myself down a little bit and make sure I don't peak too early."

    When Nutten takes the field Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., it will be almost two years to the day since his last NFL start. On Nov. 24, 2002, Nutten suffered a season-ending broken leg against Washington. The last glimpse of Nutten as a Ram that day was doing an interview for a German television crew in the visitors' locker room at FedEx Field. Nutten, who spent much of his youth in Germany, speaks fluent German.

    Unable to offer Nutten much more than a minimum contract in free agency, the Rams could do little but sit and watch him sign with the New York Jets the following offseason.

    "I hated losing him," Martz said. "I really like him. He got out there and got a little disillusioned....
    -11-18-2004, 07:06 AM
  • RamWraith
    Nutten probably out for playoff game
    by RamWraith
    Rams offensive guard Tom Nutten, who sprained his left knee in Sunday's
    season finale, likely will not play in Saturday's playoff game against Seattle.

    Nutten, who has started six of the past seven games at left guard, was
    injured in the second half of Sunday's 32-29 overtime victory over the New York
    Jets.

    "I think Tom probably will not be available this week," coach Mike Martz
    said Wednesday.

    Rookie Larry Turner, who started at Arizona on Dec. 19, is the likely
    replacement at that position. Turner was a seventh-round pick this year and is
    one of four players to start at left guard this season.

    "He's had some experience and started for us and we're pleased with his
    progress," Martz said.

    Martz considered moving right tackle Blaine Saipaia to guard and reinserting
    Grant Williams, who lost his starting tackle job after 12 games due to injuries
    and ineffectiveness, at tackle. But he said it was less disruptive to use
    Turner at guard.

    Nutten, 33, came out of retirement in mid-August to rejoin the team and was
    inactive for six of the first eight games. He started for the Rams' Super Bowl
    teams in 1999 and 2001.
    -01-05-2005, 04:40 PM
  • ramsbruce
    Rams: Nutten keeping options open
    by ramsbruce
    November 17, 2005 12:47 PM ET
    Rams: Nutten keeping options open


    Rams guard Tom Nutten declined to say on Wednesday whether his season-ending neck injury will also end his career. "Right now it's still so new that I'm dealing with it day by day," Nutten told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 35 year-old lineman is nursing a bulging disc in his fifth vertebrae.
    -11-17-2005, 01:31 PM
  • RamWraith
    Nutten is doubtful, but may play
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Jan. 05 2005

    Will there be a changing of the (left) guard Saturday in Seattle?

    During his regular Wednesday press conference at Rams Park, coach Mike Martz
    all but declared rookie Larry Turner the starter against Seattle. When the
    official injury report came out in the afternoon, Tom Nutten was listed as
    doubtful with a left knee injury.

    But while Turner took the reps with the starters at left guard in practice,
    Nutten was running on the side. And running surprisingly well, which caused
    Martz to change his tune after practice.

    "Tommy may play this week," Martz said. "He's going to practice (Thursday), so
    we'll see. There's a real chance we'll have him up. I was very, very
    surprised."

    According to Martz, Nutten has a torn medial collateral ligament in the knee.
    He played with the injury for a few weeks but, after aggravating it in
    mid-December, did not play against Arizona.

    Nutten was back in the lineup against Philadelphia on Dec. 27 and played well.
    But he suffered another setback late in the third quarter against the New York
    Jets on Sunday and didn't return.

    "I think half the pile came down on the outside of my knee," Nutten said. "I
    felt something in there and right away knew that was it for the day."

    He was still walking with a limp Monday but said the knee felt a lot better. By
    Wednesday, it felt well enough to test the knee with some running.

    Normally, if a Rams player doesn't practice during the week, he doesn't play on
    the weekend. But with the playoffs at hand, Martz sounds willing to take things
    down to the wire if necessary with Nutten.

    "If he goes out in pregame and practices well, he'll play," Martz said. "He's
    just got too much experience and is too good a player."

    Despite having rust to knock off after being out of football last season,
    Nutten, 33, remains a savvy pass blocker and an effective run blocker. He has
    started seven playoff games as a Ram, including two Super Bowls, and that kind
    of experience is invaluable this time of year.

    Nutten was talked out of retirement by the Rams in late August and had to get
    his weight back up to the 300-pound level. Then he battled a turf toe problem
    after just a week with the club. Just when it seemed he was over the nagging
    turf toe injury, along came the knee problem.

    But there aren't many players on the squad who don't have some kind of ailment
    this far into the season.

    "It seems like the season is gruelingly long," Nutten said. "And I was
    fortunate...
    -01-06-2005, 06:27 AM
  • RamWraith
    Martz turns to Nutten to hold down left guard
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Aug. 26 2005

    The Rams' merry-go-round at left guard continued Friday, when veteran Tom
    Nutten took the snaps with the first team. On Wednesday, Blaine Saipaia was
    with the "ones." On Thursday, it was rookie Claude Terrell.

    Coach Mike Martz said Nutten would start Monday night in Detroit, meaning that
    four of the five starters from the Super Bowl championship team of 2000 -
    Nutten, left tackle Orlando Pace, center Andy McCollum and right guard Adam
    Timmerman - will be lining up together.

    "We're trying to settle in on some guys. It's been awhile since we've been able
    to do that," Martz said. "We're starting to jell a little bit on offense,
    starting to get some things going."

    Nutten opened at right guard in the preseason opener versus Chicago, as
    Timmerman continued his recovery from three offseason operatons. On Sunday in
    San Diego, Saipaia took over that role and Nutten played sparingly. Timmerman
    is expected to see his first game action of the exhibition season versus the
    Lions.

    "I think they're still playing with a couple of things," said Nutten, who
    missed Thursday's practice because he was ill. "I told them, 'I'll do my best
    wherever you put me.' And it seems like this week, they're moving me back to
    left guard."

    Nutten is rounding back into playing shape after undergoing reconstructive
    surgery on his right big toe in the offseason. Nutten said the toe "lets me
    know that it's there, but it seems like it's getting a little bit better.
    Considering what I've been through, I'm actually kind of happy.

    "Of course, I'll always wish to be back to how it was before, but it never will
    be. But it's coming around." Nutten, 34, was a four-year starter at left guard
    for Rams before signing with the New York Jets as a free agent in 2003. A
    nagging elbow injury prompted him to retire five months later, and he was off
    to NFL Europe, where he served as an assistant coach with the Cologne
    Centurions. Martz lured him back last October, and he played in eight games,
    starting six at left guard despite the toe injury and a banged-up knee.

    One person who would welcome some stability on the line is quarterback Marc
    Bulger. "It's been a little difficult in camp, with a couple of injuries and
    ... Alex (Barron) coming in late," Bulger said. "But that's what's good about
    having two weeks left. You want to get into the regular season, but I think
    they need that work together. We're still moving guys around, but I think in
    the next two weeks, it'll come together."

    Bulger...
    -08-27-2005, 06:18 AM
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