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Pace is still a no-show as season approaches

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  • Pace is still a no-show as season approaches

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Aug. 30 2004

    For those of you who had Monday in the "Orlando Pace" office pool, sorry, but
    thanks for playing.

    The Rams returned to work Monday for their first practice since the Washington
    exhibition game. Once again, they were without Pace, their five-time Pro Bowl
    left tackle.

    Many observers thought Monday would be the day, giving Pace two full weeks to
    prepare for the season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. In fact, some team
    officials hoped Pace would report Sunday. That way, he could take his physical
    and sign his one-year, $7.02 million franchise tender, without missing any
    meeting time or practice time Monday.

    But none of the above happened.

    Pace has not participated in any organized team activities since the Rams'
    double-overtime playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 10. As a result, he has missed
    all of training camp in Macomb for the third time in eight NFL seasons. And
    unless he shows up in the next day or two, he will miss the Rams' entire 2004
    exhibition schedule. The club leaves St. Louis on Wednesday for its exhibition
    finale Thursday night in Oakland.

    Pace has not returned several phone messages from the Post-Dispatch. But that's
    not surprising, considering he has not returned phone messages from coach Mike
    Martz and other members of the Rams staff.

    Pace hosted a party for team members at a midtown nightclub Friday after the
    Washington exhibition game, fueling speculation that he soon would report to
    Rams Park.

    "I have not talked to him," said Grant Williams, who has been manning left
    tackle in Pace's absence. "But I would expect him probably to come in
    (Tuesday). I know if I was in that situation, I would want to play in the last
    preseason game and get ready for the season.

    "And at the same time, I wouldn't want to jeopardize myself and miss the
    'install' and preparation for this game. You don't want to go into the Oakland
    game totally short-handed. You want to get a few reps and feel sort of
    comfortable. So I would think (Tuesday)."

    Williams said today's practice would feature the "installation" of whatever
    semblance of a game plan the Rams will have for the Raiders.

    If Pace follows the same game plan as last year, when he also balked at the
    team's franchise-player designation, he will report today. Last year, he
    reported two days before the team's preseason finale, and 12 days before the
    season opener. If he reports today, it will be two days before the preseason
    finale, and 12 days before the opener.

    Martz said he has gotten beyond the point of expecting Pace to report on any
    given day.

    "When he comes in, I'll be welcoming him with open arms, and be excited and
    elated that he's here," Martz said.

    Naturally, Martz would like to have Pace report in time to play against

    "But realistically, I treat this like it's an injury," Martz said. "When you
    get the player back, you get him back. There's nothing you can do about it, so
    there's no sense really talking about it."

    Baltimore cornerback Chris McAlister signed his franchise tender Monday,
    leaving Pace, Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson and Seattle offensive tackle
    Walter Jones as the only remaining franchise players who have not reported.
    Woodson and Pace are represented by the Poston brothers - Carl and Kevin.

    Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt last spoke with Carl Poston
    on Friday. Poston did not return a Monday phone message from the Post-Dispatch

  • #2
    Re: Pace is still a no-show as season approaches


    Pardon me, that wasn't very nice. I should have said, "Mr. Pace, I believe it is time to end your vacation and report to work"......."FAT BOY"

    Sorry, relapse.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    Related Topics


    • RamWraith
      Preseason wraps up without Pace
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Of the Post-Dispatch

      Another day at Rams Park, another day without Orlando Pace. But the absence of the five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tuesday signaled a milestone of sorts.

      Even if Pace shows up Wednesday, he almost surely won't play in Thursday night's final preseason game in Oakland.

      "We'd be irresponsible to stick him in a football game, I think," coach Mike Martz said. "He's got no practice time, and he's certainly not in any kind of hitting shape."

      Thus, Pace officially has missed all of the preseason for the first time. Even though he sat out large chunks of training camp last year and in 1997, his rookie year, he had arrived for the final preseason game both those seasons.

      The Rams would like to sign Pace, 28, to a long-term deal. But negotiations with his agent, Carl Poston, can't resume until Pace signs his one-year, $7.02 million tender as the team's franchise player and reports for work.

      Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson, who is also a Poston client, signed his tender Tuesday. That leaves Pace and Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones as the only franchise players yet to check in.

      So far, Pace's teammates are taking his tardiness philosophically.

      "Whenever he gets here, he gets here. We don't say too much about it," guard Adam Timmerman said. "Hopefully he has a little bit of time to get ready and put himself in a position where he doesn't get hurt and is ready to play."

      But even if Pace arrives today, he won't have much opportunity to prepare for the regular-season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. The Rams will practice Wednesday afternoon before leaving for the West Coast. No practices are scheduled for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Tuesday is normally a day off during game week.

      Asked if Pace's absence frustrates him, Martz said: "Not anymore, because I don't worry about it. When he's here, he's here. Until then we've got Grant (Williams), who's playing well, and Scotty (Tercero).

      "Whatever happens, happens. But I'm happy with the guys that are playing
      -09-01-2004, 04:43 AM
    • RamDez
      Pace wants a victory - and an agent
      by RamDez
      Pace wants a victory - and an agent
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Thursday, Jan. 06 2005

      Orlando Pace said Thursday that he still doesn't have an agent. But finding one
      will be at the top of his offseason to-do list.

      "After the season, I'm going to attack that pretty good," Pace said. "Probably
      the first week after the season."

      For now, Pace and the Rams are still working. Despite an 8-8 finish, the Rams
      qualified for the playoffs.

      "It was a goal of ours," he said. "We didn't have the season that we wanted to
      have. But obviously, we're here now. ... So we've got to go out and play our
      style of football, and try to get a win."

      Asked to assess his play this season, Pace replied: "It's tough to say. When
      you're 8-8, I don't think anybody's playing as well as they want to play. So
      obviously, I haven't played as well as I wanted to play."

      Even so, Pace was voted onto the Pro Bowl team at left tackle for the sixth
      consecutive season.

      "It feels good," Pace said. "Any time you're selected by your peers to be in
      the Pro Bowl, it's always an honor and a pleasure."

      Pace has played in only three of his previous five Pro Bowls, missing two trips
      to Hawaii because of injuries.

      Before the Rams' Dec. 19 game in Arizona, coach Mike Martz offered only
      lukewarm praise when asked about Pace's play.

      "He's playing pretty well ... but he can play better," Martz said at the time.

      Pace said Thursday he was unaware of Martz's comments.

      "I just try to go out and play," Pace said. "I understand we were going through
      a tough part of our season - not only myself. But I need to play better.
      Everybody needs to play better."

      The team played better in victories over Philadelphia and the New York Jets to
      qualify for the playoffs. After the Eagles game Martz singled out Pace, saying
      it might have been his best performance in two years.

      After being designated as the team's franchise player for the second year in a
      row, Pace skipped training camp for the second year in a row last summer. On
      Thursday, Pace disagreed with a reporter's suggestion that he may have missed
      the benefits of training camp more this year than in 2003.

      "Training camp is training camp," Pace said. "I don't think I missed it any

      When Pace fired agent Carl Poston just before the start of the 2004 season,
      hopes were raised that Pace could sign a multiyear contract with the Rams. But
      Pace couldn't say for sure Thursday if he'd be back in St. Louis next season.

      "It's up to the people...
      -01-07-2005, 12:11 AM
    • RamWraith
      Pace will start vs. Arizona Sunday
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Tuesday, Sep. 07 2004

      Is Orlando Pace ready for some football? Mike Martz didn't hedge or hesitate
      when asked how long it would take Pace to get ready to play.

      "Four days," Martz said, without blinking.

      Call that the pragmatic answer. Because when Pace stepped onto the practice
      field Monday afternoon at Rams Park, four practices remained until the
      regular-season opener against Arizona.

      Ready or not, Pace will be in the starting lineup for Sunday's noon kickoff at
      the Edward Jones Dome. He will do so without the benefit of participation in
      the offseason conditioning program, minicamps or lighter spring workouts known
      as OTAs. He will do so despite missing all four exhibition games and 5 1/2
      weeks of work since the start of training camp July 28.

      So is four practices enough?

      "I guess it'll have to be," Martz said. "I think it is. We haven't changed what
      we do - the calls, the terms. ... So it's not like he just got here and is
      learning the offense."

      Pace ended his contract stalemate Sunday night by signing a one-year, $7.02
      million tender as the Rams' franchise player. To help entice Pace to report,
      the Rams gave him $1 million of that total in the form of a signing bonus.

      "We're all excited to have Orlando back," Martz said. "I know he feels good
      about being back, too."

      On that last point, we'll just have to take Martz's word for it. Pace declined
      to speak to reporters Monday.

      On the practice field, Pace appeared to be in better shape than last season,
      when he reported 4 1/2 weeks into camp.

      "He came into camp this year 16 pounds underneath what he did last year," Martz
      said. "He's obviously trained very well and has prepared himself to come to
      camp. Watching him out here in practice, he's a little rusty with some things,
      but he's a pretty unique individual."

      Pace is listed at 325 pounds on the roster but was probably closer to 345 or
      350 when he reported last season.

      On Monday, Pace was with the first unit from the outset, and took his regular
      turn with the starters throughout practice. There was no easing him in. During
      one-on-one pass-rush drills with the defensive linemen, Pace went up against
      Bryce Fisher and Anthony Hargrove.

      Hargrove got some penetration with an inside move his first time up against
      Pace. But the second time around, Pace flattened Hargrove like a pancake,
      drawing hoots and hollers from teammates.

      But overall, there was little fanfare surrounding Pace's return. It was pretty
      much another...
      -09-07-2004, 10:34 AM
    • RamWraith
      Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams
      by RamWraith

      Associated Press

      ST. LOUIS - Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace broke a three-day silence on his contract holdout Thursday, saying a lighter playing weight would help him get back into playing shape in time for Sunday's opener.

      Earlier this week Pace agreed to a one-year, $7.02 million contract as the team's franchise player, and he practiced for the first time Wednesday. He reported at 325 pounds, almost 20 pounds below last year, and believes that will offset the fact he's got only four practices to get ready.

      During the offseason, in addition to working out on his own, Pace largely eliminated fried foods from his diet and cut back on his soft drink intake.

      "I feel light years better than I did last year," Pace said. "I feel a lot quicker, a lot fresher. That was one of the elements I dealt with last year, just trying to get the weight down."

      After two workouts, the Rams have been pleasantly surprised by Pace's conditioning.

      "It looks like he's been here all camp, honest to goodness he does," coach Mike Martz said. "No mental errors and he's quick, he's physical.

      "At this time last year he was very sluggish and the conditioning was a factor for him."

      Martz said there's no question Pace will be ready for the opener.

      "If there was any doubt, if he was not in great shape or if he was sloppy and making mistakes out here, you'd have to consider otherwise," Martz said. "But it's clear in my mind, he's looked terrific."

      Pace, the first overall pick of the 1997 draft, has been a holdout in three of his eight seasons. He said there's been no backlash from teammates who went through two-a-days plus four preseason games.

      "Really the bottom line, and what matters most in this locker room, is how the guys feel," Pace said. "And they're happy to see me and they're happy I'm back on the team."

      Pace said a holdout was his only option when the Rams designated him as their franchise player for the second straight season. Now that he's signed the Rams and Pace's agents, the Poston brothers, can negotiate a long-term deal.

      Not that he's holding his breath, considering the sides were far apart the last time they talked.

      "Right now I'm not really focusing on next year," Pace said. "Whatever happens at the end of the season, hopefully I can sign a long-term deal. If not, we'll be sitting here talking about the same thing next year."

      After three holdouts, Pace remains steadfast in support of his high-profile agents. He also said the bottom line is these are his decisions.

      "I always have confidence in the people that represent me," Pace said. "They're professionals in what they...
      -09-09-2004, 03:26 PM
    • Will51
      This here proves pace's injury is not sever at all!
      by Will51
      Associated Press
      ST. LOUIS -- Seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace revealed his latest shoulder setback came from trying to make a tackle for the St. Louis Rams.
      During last week's 7-6 win over the San Diego Chargers, Marc Bulger threw an interception and Pace attempted to make a play. He landed on his right shoulder.
      While a little frustrated with the mishap, Pace pointed out it is not related to the labrum or rotator cuff, which were both torn during the 2007 season opener against Carolina. He underwent season-ending surgery last Sept. 20.
      This soreness is not related to the surgery.
      "I think I did it when I was trying to make a tackle, and I landed on it pretty good," Pace said.
      Pace insisted he was not trying to be like his friend, ex-Ram Mike Jones, who made the game-saving tackle in Super Bowl XXXIV.
      "I was trying to do what I can out there," Pace said, laughing. "The one positive that came out of landing like that is you know the structure of the shoulder is back, and it healed pretty good.
      "But I didn't know I'd hurt it until Monday when I came in, and I couldn't raise my arm and it was swelling. That was a little concern to me."
      Pace, 32, missed the second half of the 2006 season with a torn left triceps muscle. Before 2006 Pace had made seven consecutive Pro Bowls. Now, he's out to prove to himself he can come back and be that force again.
      His teammates know he's important to the club.
      "He's a big part of our success," guard Richie Incognito said. "The Big 'O' is close to being back. Having a healthy Orlando in the lineup helps all of us. You want to play like he does."
      Pace returned to practice on Thursday for the first time. The team had a light workout Friday at Rams Park.
      This latest injury raises questions regarding Pace's durability and long-term viability after two straight years shortened by season-ending injuries.
      "This is just a little setback to me because I was getting into a pretty good groove," Pace said. "It's frustrating. I want to get back and play at a high level."

      The Rams have treated Pace, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, gingerly in training camp, not overextending him and limiting his repetitions. Backup Adam Goldberg has been alternating with him during practice drills. Pace did see action on 39 plays in the first half against the Chargers.
      St. Louis coach Scott Linehan said he is unsure about how much time Pace will be in Saturday's final preseason home game against the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams are 1-1. This will be the first time the two teams have met in preseason. They met during the regular season last year with Baltimore scoring a 22-3 victory.
      "He is still questionable," Linehan said about Pace. "I think there is a good chance he could play but we haven't decided...
      -08-22-2008, 02:43 PM