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  • Fans pile on Pace and Postons

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    09/02/2004

    Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

    The Rams went to Oakland without Orlando Pace to play the Raiders. On the advice of his agents, the Poston brothers, the All-Pro left tackle is taking his holdout to the max.

    So the protests from the citizens of Rams Nation continue pouring into the "Letters to Gordo" bin. Here is another sampling:


    * * *

    "Pace has a couple things to gain. He gets to miss training camp. Isaac Bruce has said he doesn't think he needs training camp and wouldn't go if he didn't have to. Pace is living Bruce's dream. Almost everyone agrees that the preseason is too long.

    "And as the franchise player, not showing up for camp is Pace's only bargaining chip. If the Rams want Pace in camp they need to work out a deal with him. That's Pace's only leverage. I know Pace is a big dude but he can't play three positions at once . . . "

    -- Steve Dietrich


    GORDO: Trouble is, he can't bargain for a new deal until he signs the "franchise player" tender. So his holdout almost precludes him from negotiating a long-term deal before this season. It pushes the process back another year and prevents him from banking a signing bonus of, say, $17 million. This tactic didn't work last summer and it isn't likely to work this summer, either.

    As for Pace being but one player, that's true – but he is demanding superstar, team-leading, anchor-of-the-unit dollars. He is the cornerstone of the unit. His absence makes every other player's job harder.


    * * *

    "Most NFL players hate training camp, and when it comes to linemen, they are lazy. If you check most 'holdout' negotiations, they are settled on the last week or two before the start opening of the season. Why? The player works at his own pace and when they arrive, they are still three to four weeks away from 'playing shape.'

    "Don't defend these guys by saying they are working hard on their own. They don't. The prima donnas of the league do what they have to do until the season starts, and they get into shape on the team's time, not their time."

    -- David Carriger, Florence, N.J.


    GORDO: You're right about playing shape. Pace may have skipped some work, but he is putting himself at risk for injury. He also stands to diminish his effectiveness. If this holdout leads to injury or poor play, then he will hurt his negotiating power. He won't set any new records for long-term deals if he scuffles through a sub-par 2004 season.


    * * *

    "Orlando has the worst agent in football. Why doesn`t the press try incessantly to contact Pace, putting pressure on him?"

    -- Warren Bartold


    GORDO: Should we stake out the Big O? That's an interesting thought, but I'm afraid we're not all that persuasive. If his teammates can't get him back to the camp, why would he listen to a bunch of reporters?


    * * *

    "I've seen my share of contract disputes (i.e. Eric Dickerson, who wanted to break the bank with a $1 million contract), so I have an understanding of how this works. Player/agents make demands; teams counter; player/agents counter the counter and so on.

    "Here's my take: The Poston brothers are simply bad for professional sports. They haven't learned how to play well with others (Sandbox 101). They have their own way of doing things. Postons make a completely unrealistic, sock-smoking, outrageous demand; teams counter with something slightly below the market; then the Postons go to the media and announce how the team does not negotiate in good faith. The Postons in my mind are the worst for football.

    "Open comment to Orlando Pace: Dump these morons, go sign with Leigh Steinberg or Drew Rosenhaus or even Tom Cruise! The reason you don't have a long-term deal is because of your AGENTS, not the team. The Postons are, in my opinion, walking, talking brain-donors -- and they didn't even get a receipt for their taxes! Orlando, I will welcome you back to your Blue and Gold No. 76, but your long term contract should be worked by some competent agents."

    -- Russell Huffer, Phoenix


    GORDO: The Postons aren't morons. They are very, very smart. They get really big deals for their clients. Many NFL executives find their negotiating style to be over the top, but it's their routine. Rosenhaus has a routine, Scott Boras has a routine in baseball, Rich "Nuclear" Winter has a routine in hockey – it's just part of the business.

    If Pace wants to be a good teammate and help the Rams win, then he has to make his own decisions at some point in the process. We may all disagree with the Postons' strategy, but Pace is the guy giving the green light.


    * * *

    "You're right about Orlando Pace. He is not loyal to his teammates or the fans. It's all about mo' money, mo' money and mo' money. I would trade him. Sure he would go somewhere else and be a starter there if he showed up. But until somebody gets through that thick skull of his that he is only hurting himself, the team, the game, the fans and whoever else that looks up to him, he's just another greedy ballplayer with a strange agent wanting mo' money."

    -- Herb Tobias


    GORDO: As we've noted earlier, trading him is not an option right now. The demise of Kyle Turley and Dave Wohlabaugh leaves the offensive line rather thin. If those guys were here and healthy, perhaps the team could consider such a thing. But the injuries doubtlessly factored into Pace's strategy of extending this holdout so far

  • #2
    Re: Fans pile on Pace and Postons

    I got a gut feeling about this one. I say Orlando signs the tender today.

    Friday, September 3rd, 2004 - Orlando Pace will sign the tender!!!
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Fans pile on Pace and Postons

      It would be nice for him to come in. I know if I was one of the Rams and the longer Pace stayed out the more my opinion would change of him, especially if I was an O-lineman who had been working my butt off the whole camp.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Fans pile on Pace and Postons

        I say they better get themselves some Everest size pants for the slob

        __________________________________________________________
        Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Fans pile on Pace and Postons

          I can see it now....Pace bends over to get in a 3-point stance and..riiiip...right down the seam. Now that would be hilarious.

          Comment

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          • Nick
            Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?
            by Nick
            Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            Monday, Aug. 30 2004

            The Rams handled the Redskins pretty easily Friday night, even though All-Pro
            tackle Orlando Pace remained unsigned. Afterward, O.P. showed he cared by
            hosting a party for this estranged teammates at a downtown nightclub.

            But Rams Nation would like to see the big fella get back in uniform or get on
            down the trail. Here is still another sampling of the electronic mail sent to
            the "Letters to Gordo" bin:


            * * *

            "How do you think the rest of the team feels year after year after the Big Oaf
            -- I mean, Big O -- comes into camp after the rest of the team has sweated
            their backsides off in camp and says 'I am here to save the team.'

            "I say the guys ought to get together and nickname him SLACKER until he can be
            a man and do what the other guys do, work their backsides off. Remember, there
            is no letter "I" in the word team or "O" for that matter. I say get rid of Big
            Oaf."

            -- Tom Stephens

            GORDO: Well, O.P. did throw that party for the fellas, so that might smooth
            over things just a bit. Some players may still resent him, of course, but that
            could go away if the team gets off to a good start this season.

            We presume that Pace has been working hard to stay in shape, so he'll be ready
            to play once he finally signs his franchise tag tender. If he doesn't sign . .
            . well, now, that could get ugly.


            * * *

            "I've lost a lot of respect for a very fine football player. He has (bad)
            agents and listens to bad advice. Meanwhile, and you're exactly right, his
            teammates are busting backside and slowly becoming non-teammates, and on the
            offensive line of all places! His routine each year is becoming old and
            tiring, and that's too bad for the team and fans alike.

            "I'm very concerned about the 2004 season for the Rams. The team needs Big O
            to be a leader RIGHT NOW. Why don't you give him a call and ask nicely?

            -- Jeff Rabenort, Okawville


            GORDO: Ask nicely? What fun is that? I believe Pace will make it back to the
            starting lineup for Game 1. Rams fans can only hope he is more prepared for
            football than he was at this point last summer.


            * * *

            "I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but has it occurred to
            anybody that the Pace vacation through training camp may be part of a
            gentleman's agreement with the Rams for not getting signed to a long-term
            contract via the franchise tag? It would be nice if pro football were 'All for
            One and...
            -08-30-2004, 06:24 PM
          • Nick
            Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
            by Nick
            Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            Wednesday, Aug. 25 2004

            We all understand the NFL is a business, and a nasty one at that.

            The franchises are enormously profitable. Franchise values escalate yearly. The folks that own these franchises are very, very rich.

            Nobody should begrudge players for getting whatever they can out of the game, for as long as they can physically last.

            But there comes a point when a football player has to become a teammate, too, and consider the needs of the men he will line up with when the real games
            start.

            Orlando Pace is well past that point with the Rams. By refusing to report to training camp, he literally put his fellow Male Sheep in harm's way the past two weeks.

            Therefore, O.P. has become a terrible teammate.

            In his absence, tackle Grant Williams has played with an ankle injury because the Rams need experienced offensive linemen to play preseason games. He has played in pain, risking further injury.

            In Pace's absence, Adam Timmerman has played with a shoulder injury for the same reason. Chris Dishman has rushed back into the fray, still huffing and puffing, after his un-retirement.

            And Pace? He stayed out of camp, despite having nothing to gain by refusing to sign his franchise tag tender.

            Nobody should begrudge players who put themselves first, since the NFL quickly discards athletes once they lose value. But a player who puts himself THAT far ahead of his team . . . well, you have to wonder how he will ever move forward with the group.

            The Rams can't negotiate a long-term contract with Pace until he signs that tender and reports to work. The longer he waits to sign the tender, the less likely a deal can be struck before the season.

            Obviously the Pace Camp is frustrated by this whole "franchise player" designation, a piece of the collective bargaining agreement that inevitably creates hard feelings.

            Getting tagged year after year would aggravate any player eager to bank the staggering signing bonus that would come with a new long-term deal.

            Then again, a player can't expect to get a long-term deal from a competitive deal while making outrageous demands. A player can't expect to reach a long-term agreement unless his agents -- in this case the Poston brothers -- fit those requests within the salary cap framework of the team.

            Pace expressed some willingness to do just that during the spring, but then went back into hiding while his representatives held firm.

            The Rams have done a marvelous job managing their salary cap. Jay Zygmunt is a master at it. His creativity has allowed the Rams to keep many top players while remaining competitive year after year after year....
            -08-25-2004, 02:09 PM
          • Nick
            How long is too long for Pace and the Postons?
            by Nick
            Just thinking out loud here after watching a disappointing Outside the Lines (see General NFL Talk), but the more I thought about the situation, the more I began to wonder...

            How long is too long when it comes to waiting for Pace and the Postons to reach a reasonable long term contract with the Rams?

            Obviously with the increasing amount of the franchise tag on Orlando Pace, as well as other players who we might want to retain using that tag, we can't tag Pace year in and year out. This is the second year in a row the tag has been placed on Pace, and while Orlando's comments in March were optimistic about a long-term deal being done this fall, we've yet to see or hear anything from him that would indicate that's still the case.

            So for a moment, let's assume that Pace signs the tender during the preseason and once again fails to sign a long-term deal. At what point do the Rams begin to look for a viable replacement at left tackle, thus marking the beginning of the end of their dealings with Pace and the Postons? Does such a point exist?

            Personally, I think that if the Rams and Pace can't reach a long-term deal by next spring when the time to franchise Orlando comes again, the Rams should begin considering alternative answers for the left tackle position. I'll be the first to tell you that Pace is one of the most valuable offensive linemen in the game, but the Rams cannot afford to be held hostage like this for many more seasons. Plus, I believe in the 2005 draft, there will be a number of good (not elite, but very good) tackle prospects, guys like Alex Barron or Jammal Brown, who may not be able to play as well as Pace, but should be very adequate and efficient players. Also, it's hard to tell who might be available in free agency, too.

            The bottom line is I don't see the Postons bending to lower demands, and I'm not convinced that Pace is going to give them the boot any time soon. As much as the Rams may want to continue tagging Pace year after year (I think an interview with Zygmunt alluded to this), I don't think that's going to be an option after another season or two.
            -08-09-2004, 01:01 AM
          • Guest's Avatar
            Its time for RamTime’s annual *****ing about Pace
            by Guest
            Yep it’s that time of year again when we collectively wonder if Pace is team player or not. It looks as if this year will tell a lot. Since he “fired” his agent and Walter Jones has signed there really is no reason for Opie to hold the Rams hostage and should sign a deal before free agency. We shall see but don’t hold your breath because I still maintain the he’s lazy and hates camp enough that he would trade not having to participate in spring training for holding his team hostage. It’s time people start calling this like it looks and stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.

            Left tackle for sale, abada abada abada Left tackle for sale.... Step right up and feast your eyes on this massive specimen. That's right for 8 million dollars he can be yours for a whole year ahm minus the off season and uhm minus training camp, and uhm minus most of the pre season... abada abada abada Left Tackle for sale....
            -02-25-2005, 03:07 AM
          • RamWraith
            Pace weighs in on his stance in contract talks
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Thursday, Sep. 09 2004

            There may be no way to close the negotiating - and monetary - gap between
            Orlando Pace and the Rams. But at least Pace has learned to make the most of
            his time away from the Rams in terms of conditioning.

            "I feel light years better than I did last year," Pace said Thursday. "Just
            losing about 20 pounds. I feel a lot quicker, a lot fresher."

            Pace reported at 325 pounds Sunday, about 20 pounds lighter than last season,
            when he also boycotted all team activities and skipped training camp in a
            contract impasse. After his initial practices last season, Pace felt winded.
            Three practices into his 2004 season, that hasn't been the case.

            "I feel great," Pace said. "Compared to last year, it's like night and day.
            After taking a few reps, you're a little winded as everybody is, but not nearly
            as bad as last year."

            Pace trained a little differently this offseason, but the major factor in his
            improved conditioning was an improved diet.

            "I cut down on my fried foods," Pace said. "I tried to cut down on my soda, and
            things like that."

            Even at the heavier weight last year, Pace played surprisingly well at the
            start of the season. So in theory, he could be even more impressive in his
            trimmer, better-conditioned state.

            "I watched (practice) tape, and it looks like he's been here all camp," coach
            Mike Martz said. "Honest to goodness it does. No mental errors. He's quick.
            He's physical. ... He's not sluggish.

            "At this time last year, he was very sluggish. The conditioning was a factor
            for him last year. So I'm very pleased with where he is. He's obviously been
            very conscientious about being in shape and ready to go, and it's much
            appreciated by all of us."

            If only things could go as smoothly on the negotiating front.

            "I'm always hoping that they can get a deal done - for security reasons, and
            things like that," Pace said. "The possibility's still there. But I think at
            the end of the year, they'll try to hammer something out, or else I'll be
            franchised again."

            Pace's "end-of-the-year" comment was curious, because now that he has signed
            the one-year, $7.02 million tender offer, the sides actually can begin
            negotiating again.

            Under league rule, any talks came to a halt following a March 17 negotiating
            deadline. Since Sunday, when Pace signed the tender, the sides can talk again.

            A few weeks after the Rams' playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 10, the Rams
            offered Pace a seven-year,...
            -09-10-2004, 06:19 AM
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