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Chandler blocks Falcons out of his mind

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  • Chandler blocks Falcons out of his mind

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 16 2004

    Chris Chandler spent more time in Atlanta - five seasons - than any other stop
    in his 17-year NFL career. In terms of both personal statistics and team
    success, the time in Georgia marked the apex of his career.

    He led the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 1998 season and made two Pro
    Bowls while playing in Atlanta. So Sunday's return to the Georgia Dome will
    bring back fond memories for Chandler, now a backup quarterback for the Rams.

    Uh, no. In fact, not even close.

    "I have some friends back there, but I really have no connection at all,"
    Chandler said Thursday. "As far as football, I've kind of forgotten all about
    that. The way things ended there, I'm kind of dead to all that now."

    Chandler never wears his NFC championship ring from that magical '98 season of
    Jamal Anderson and the Dirty Birds. In fact, he'd be hard-pressed to find it.

    "We've moved twice, and I really couldn't tell you where it is right now,"
    Chandler said.

    Over his entire NFL career, Chandler has played on only two teams that finished
    the season with winning records. One was the 1988 Indianapolis Colts in his
    rookie season.

    The other was the 1998 Atlanta Falcons. Those three playoff games with the
    Falcons, including a 34-19 loss to John Elway and the Denver Broncos in Super
    Bowl XXXIII, remain the only postseason contests of Chandler's career.

    But Georgia definitely is not on his mind - and hasn't been for some time.

    "I think I'm numb to all that really," Chandler said. "As things ended there,
    and the way they ended there, I pretty much have just forgotten all about it. I
    know it was fun. But again, you tend to remember the way things end more so
    than anything else."

    For Chandler, the beginning of the end came in the 2001 draft, when the Falcons
    made Michael Vick the No. 1 overall pick. Beginning with the '01 season opener,
    Vick was inserted into the lineup as part of a rotation system devised by
    coaches - a highly unusual move for the quarterback position in the NFL.
    Because of injuries to Chandler, Vick started two games and played in parts of
    four others.

    But Chandler still played well enough - and stayed healthy enough - to throw
    365 passes that season and finish 10th in the NFL in passer rating (84.1).

    On Dec. 23, 2001, Chandler threw for a franchise-record 431 yards in a 33-30
    victory over Buffalo. But the largest cheers of the day came when it appeared
    that Vick would be replacing Chandler, who had been fighting the flu all

    Turns out that was Chandler's final game in the Georgia Dome. He was exposed in
    the Houston Texans' expansion draft in February but went unclaimed. Later that
    month, he was released in a move that saved the Falcons about $3.4 million in
    cap space, but also cleared the path for Vick's ascendancy to the quarterback

    "What happened today puts me in a group with a lot of people in Atlanta,"
    Chandler said at the time. "Like (the Super Bowl) was a memory far, far away."

    Despite the sour departure from Atlanta, Chandler harbors no ill will toward
    the city. Some of his best friends still call Atlanta home, including former
    Falcons quarterbacks Steve Bartkowski and Bobby Hebert.

    "In fact, that might be a place where we ultimately settle," Chandler said. "My
    youngest daughter was born there, we have a lot of great memories about living
    there. I could forget about the football and never think about it again and be

    Just not yet. Chandler spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons in Chicago, before
    joining the Rams last March. After seeing more playing time than Marc Bulger
    this preseason, Chandler quickly has shifted into the background as the No. 2
    quarterback. During the week, the preparation is the same.

    "You have to study a lot, and you have to get mentally ready to go no matter
    what your role is," Chandler said.

    But game day, obviously, is different as a backup.

    "There's a little more uncertainty as far as your playing situation," Chandler
    said. "You know, it could come on any play, or it might not come at all."

    Even if it doesn't, Chandler must be on his toes, because he relays the play
    calls in from coach Mike Martz to Bulger.

    "So knowing all the verbiage is really important for me," Chandler said,
    laughing. "I'm the middle man, so I have a lot to worry about.

    "Things go fast on Sundays, and so me and Marc study a lot and we do talk a lot
    about how things are called. We try to have a really good communication between
    us, because ultimately that's the last thing he hears."

  • #2
    Re: Chandler blocks Falcons out of his mind

    Chandler never wears his NFC championship ring from that magical '98 season of
    Hopefully, we will be replacing that ring with a bigger one this year.
    Over his entire NFL career, Chandler has played on only two teams that finished the season with winning records.
    Mr. Chandler, sit back and prepare to enjoy your 3rd.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    Related Topics


    • RamWraith
      Jokes get old fast for Rams, Chandler
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Thursday, Dec. 09 2004

      Rams coach Mike Martz isn't a big fan of the Chris Chandler age jokes.

      "He's not 500 years old," Martz said Wednesday. "I think he's 38. It doesn't
      matter how old he is. He can play."

      Actually, Chandler is 39. This is his 17th season in the National Football
      League. He has played for seven NFL teams, including two stints with the Rams.
      On Sunday he makes his 151st NFL start, 154th if you count playoffs, replacing
      the injured Marc Bulger against Carolina.

      When punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago, Chandler became the oldest
      player on the Rams' roster. The "old man" jokes only intensified.

      "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono
      walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in
      the league before Steve Bono did."

      Bono, now an alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, came into the NFL
      in 1985, just three seasons before Chandler's rookie season in Indianapolis.

      "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would
      kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as
      I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on
      that now."

      Despite spending much of his career with lousy teams, Chandler has made two Pro
      Bowls and played in a Super Bowl. He has thrown more than 4,000 passes. At this
      stage of his football like, he feels that he has nothing to prove. He no longer
      worries about stats.

      "Now I'm playing to have fun for myself," Chandler said. "But mainly, I'm
      playing for all the other guys in this locker room. They're counting on me, and
      the only thing I want to do is stand up for those guys."

      The Rams certainly need Chandler to stand up and make something happen. Bulger
      could miss a couple of games, and the team is in the thick of a playoff race
      despite a 6-6 record.

      "That's the best thing about it," Chandler said. "We're playing a meaningful
      game in December, and there's a lot of teams who aren't. So that's what makes
      it a lot more exciting."

      Until Bulger went down with a bruised throwing shoulder late in the first
      quarter against San Francisco, Chandler hadn't thrown a pass this season. He
      served as Jeff Wilkins' holder against New England and Seattle early last month
      when Dane Looker was sidelined with a sprained ankle. But that was it for
      playing time.

      After three months of serving as the scout team quarterback, running...
      -12-10-2004, 04:01 PM
    • Nick
      Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
      by Nick
      Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
      Knight Ridder Newspapers

      ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - After 17 seasons in the NFL, quarterback Chris Chandler can fully appreciate the opportunity at hand.

      Chandler will be the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams against the Carolina Panthers at 3:15 p.m. CST on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

      Chandler is starting in place of Marc Bulger, who could be sidelined from 1 to 3 games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.

      "I`m not going to play another 10 years," Chandler said. "When you`re younger, it seems like your future is infinite. As you get a little older, every opportunity you get you should really cherish, respect, and go out there and enjoy the heck out of them."

      At 39, Chandler became the elder statesmen on the Rams` roster after punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago.

      Chandler said he hears plenty of jokes about his age.

      "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in the league before Steve Bono did."

      Bono, who serves as the alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, entered the NFL in 1985. Chandler arrived three years later in 1998 as a third-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts.

      "We used to give it to Landeta because he was like 95 (years old) or something," Rams center Andy McCollum said. "I just like for them to give it to somebody other than me because I`m the oldest in our (offensive line) room. I`m the one who gets it."

      Carolina cornerback Ricky Manning, 24 years old and playing in his second season in the NFL, even took a little shot at Chandler`s age this week.

      "You know, I couldn`t even tell you. I don`t remember," Manning said when asked if he`d ever seen Chandler play. "I probably just played with him on Tecmo Bowl or something, one of those video games. And, if y`all don`t know Tecmo Bowl, it was one of the first Nintendo games."

      Chandler said the age jokes don`t bother him anymore.

      "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on that now."

      Rams coach Mike Martz wasn`t so amused with an Internet columnist who mocked Chandler because of his age.

      "He`s not 500 years old," Martz said. "It doesn`t matter how old he is, he can play. He has terrific legs. Can any of you guys go at nine on the treadmill for 35 minutes? Maybe you can, but I know I can`t. That and the fact that his arm strength...
      -12-12-2004, 01:53 AM
    • RamDez
      Traveling Man
      by RamDez
      Traveling Man
      Tuesday, August 10, 2004

      Staff Writer

      Chris Chandler knows almost every feeling an NFL quarterback can experience. From the highest of highs (leading Atlanta to a Super Bowl appearance) to the lowest of lows (myriad injuries), Chandler moves on.

      His newest endeavor is as St. Louis’ backup quarterback behind starter Marc Bulger . Chandler comes to the Rams with an impressive resume. Entering his 17th season, Chandler has accumulated 28,021 passing yards and 168 touchdown passes. He has started for a league-record seven different NFL teams, including time with the Los Angeles version of the Rams.

      Chandler’s best seasons came in Atlanta, where he helped the team to its only Super Bowl appearance in 1998. After a one-season stint with Chicago, where he posted 1,050 passing yards and three touchdowns in limited starts, Chandler got an offer from Rams’ coach Mike Martz that was too good to pass on.

      He could stay in Chicago and resume his backup role or go to St. Louis, where he could be the backup in one the league’s most dangerous offenses. When the Bears gave him his release, it was a no-brainer. He headed south down Interstate 55 to St. Louis, bringing his vast game experience with him.

      Chandler said the idea of playing for Martz and with talented players such as Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce made the choice easy. “It’s great here,” Chandler said. “I respect Coach Martz immensely, and have for quite a while. The talent here is unbelievable and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

      When Chandler signed with St. Louis, the quarterback picture was somewhat muddled. Two-time MVP Kurt Warner was still with the team and Bulger was emerging as one of the league’s better young quarterbacks.

      In addition, the Rams drafted Jeff Smoker in April as the team’s third quarterback. It didn’t take long to see that Chandler was going to be the team’s No. 2 guy heading into the season. St. Louis released Warner at the beginning of June.

      Martz said Chandler is the perfect complement to Bulger. “Veterans always have their way of doing things, and on Chris’ behalf, for a guy that has been as successful as he has been, he’s not done that,” Martz said. “You couldn’t ask for a better situation with a veteran like Chris.”

      Chandler spent most of the early parts of training camp knocking the rust off, but by the time the Bears came to town for a scrimmage Saturday, Chandler was ready. In that scrimmage, Chandler completed all six of his attempts for 58 yards, setting up an Arlen Harris’ touchdown run.

      Chandler has had few problems adjusting to the Rams’ complicated offense, but admits he still has learning to do.
      “All I know about this offense is that there is so much that gets put in,” Chandler said. “Mentally, it’s the most challenging offense I’ve ever been in. So from that...
      -08-11-2004, 12:19 AM
    • RamDez
      by RamDez
      from the Bears game...
      -08-13-2004, 03:32 PM
    • AvengerRam_old
      What went wrong for Chandler yesterday?
      by AvengerRam_old
      What's your theory?
      Suffered temporary color blindness.
      Wearing #12 caused him to channel Tony Banks.
      Felt a little "tight" after mixing up his Geritol and Viagra.
      Game was held past his bedtime.
      Finally, after wearing so many uniforms, forgot which team he was on.
      Always wanted to break a Norm Van Brocklin record.
      Turns out he is really left handed.
      Interceptions were actually a clever Martz misdirection strategy that just didn't work.
      -12-13-2004, 07:53 AM