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Atogwe Injury Decision Awaits

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  • Atogwe Injury Decision Awaits

    Atogwe Injury Decision Awaits
    Monday, December 7, 2009

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Laying in front of the near 62,000 fans at Soldier Field on Sunday, Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe wanted to waste no time in getting his moments before dislocated shoulder popped back into place.

    So Atogwe asked the Rams medical staff to pop that right shoulder back where it belongs right on the field only minutes after he suffered the injury on the final play of the half.

    “Where else would you want to have it?” Atogwe said, laughing. “If they did it wrong, I’ve got all these witnesses. It was fine. It wasn’t that bad as far as the pain, I just wanted to get it back in as soon as possible. They did a great job.”

    What the assembled medical staff couldn’t tell him at that moment was the extent of the injury though Atogwe had a suspicion of the implications that come with a dislocated shoulder.

    Atogwe had his MRI on Monday morning, the results of which revealed a labral tear in his right shoulder and a small amount of cartilage damage. It’s the type of injury a player can play through but will require surgery at some point.

    The question now becomes whether Atogwe will have that surgery right away or if he will try to grit out the final four games with a harness on and the eminent possibility that the shoulder could pop in and out of place for the rest of the season.

    “We have still got a lot of discussions to be had,” Atogwe said. “I have to talk to some people and see how it feels the next few days. No decisions have been made just yet. I am going to be very prayerful about it and do what’s best for the team as well as my own future career.”

    Atogwe has only had shoulder issues – an injury common to safeties it seems – a few years ago but that was a partial tear of the rotator cuff in the same shoulder and is unrelated.

    Before speaking with the press Monday, Atogwe spoke with coach Steve Spagnuolo and will also have a few more discussions in the coming days before he makes a decision on what to do for the rest of the season.

    Opting for surgery now would not allow for enough recovery time and his 2009 season would end four games early. Should he opt to try to play, the question then becomes whether Atogwe can play at his usual, ball hawking level.

    “That’s something I will talk to my agent about,” Atogwe said. “The staff here has been fabulous. I will call my agent and see what he says and get some of his advice and input and then from there decide whether we want to take it to another specialist to get a second opinion or just go with what our doctor said but they did a good job in this case.”

    Prior to the injury, Atogwe was up to his usual tricks, causing a fumble and recovering it on one of the opening plays of the game and forcing another fumble after running down Chicago receiver Earl Bennett from behind.

    For the season, Atogwe has posted 84 tackles with two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three passes defended.

    In addition, Atogwe has proved his worth as a valuable leader in the locker room. Even after he was relegated to the sideline on Sunday with the shoulder injury, Atogwe spent the rest of the game sidled up to Spagnuolo shouting words of encouragement and offering tips to Craig Dahl, his replacement.

    “He does a great job for us,” Spagnuolo said. “I love the guy, really as much as a person as a player. You saw him out there yesterday, causes a turnover, gets a fumble, brings a lot of energy. He was right there by me in the second half, right into the game. That’s what he’s all about. I certainly think he’s a good football player…I’m glad we have him.”

    Atogwe suffered the injury on the final play of the first half as he attempted to bring down Chicago running back Matt Forte. On a fluke occurrence, Atogwe took a helmet shot square on his shoulder.

    Instantly, Atogwe knew something was wrong.

    “It was a weird hit,” Atogwe said. “I went down to hit him and he kind of caught me flush with his helmet directly on my shoulder and we popped it back. It was one of those freak hits, perfect placement I guess.”

    Dahl stepped in for Atogwe and filled in admirably as he registered five tackles and was solid in pass coverage.

    When safety James Butler suffered an injury earlier in the season, Dahl filled in well, giving the Rams confidence that should Atogwe choose surgery that Dahl will be well prepared to step in and play.

    “Craig Dahl steps in there and does a great job,” Atogwe said. “This is the way the NFL works. If one guy goes down and if I am not to come back then another guy has to step up. I believe in Craig Dahl and his ability to play in this league and I know he’ll do fine.”

    Of course, that decision still has yet to be made and the insightful and thoughtful Atogwe will think of this injury from all angles before he makes a decision.

    At the end of this season, Atogwe is scheduled for free agency, yet another factor that could possibly play in his mind.
    But Atogwe isn’t the type to let those variables cloud his thinking. Instead, ever the team player, Atogwe will make the decision that’s best for all involved. And ultimately, it will be his call.

    “In this game and this life you are not promised tomorrow so I can’t take it for granted while I am in this season and say I have next season,” Atogwe said. “You never know what will happen. There are guys who were playing last year who didn’t even make it to the field this year due to certain decisions or life happening to them so I didn’t want to take for granted the moments that I do have and that I can play in today.”

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  • shower beers
    Atogwe possibly done for season
    by shower beers
    This is per rotoworld:

    Rams FS O.J. Atogwe may miss the rest of 2009 after suffering a serious shoulder injury in Sunday's loss to Chicago.
    Atogwe, the Rams' franchise player, has two options. He could finish out the year in a shoulder harness -- essentially playing with one arm -- or shut it down and get surgery out of the way early. The Rams would probably prefer Atogwe sit out the final four games considering their 1-11 record, rather than risk an aggravation. He'll seek more opinions before making a decision.
    Source: St. Louis Rams on Twitter


    You'd have to think the most logical decision would be to shut him down for the year. There's no sense in risking further injury to him, especially if we plan on signing him to an extension this off season.
    -12-07-2009, 01:50 PM
  • RamWraith
    Atogwe steps up as a takeaway artist for the Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    Oshiomogho Atogwe's nickname is "O.J.," but an update may be necessary. Something along the lines of "O.J., the Human Takeaway" may be more appropriate.

    Atogwe got off to a slow start this season because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of training camp and the preseason. But beginning with an interception against Buffalo in Game 4, Atogwe has been a takeaway waiting to happen.

    In seven of the past 10 games, Atogwe has been responsible for at least one takeaway, either in the form of an interception, a fumble recovery, or a forced fumble recovered by a Rams teammate.

    "O.J.'s a heck of a football player," coach Jim Haslett said recently. "I think people are starting to recognize that. The guy's a ball magnet. He does a great job punching the balls out."

    Say what you will about the Rams' struggling defense, it's hard to argue with Atogwe's numbers. In 13 games this season, the Rams have 17 takeaways. Atogwe has been responsible for 10 of them.

    He has four interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and four of his forced fumbles have been recovered by teammates. Atogwe returned one of those recovered fumbles 75 yards for a key touchdown in the Rams' 19-17 victory over Washington.

    "My mother told me a long time ago: 'Everybody has their time,' " Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade said. "Whatever you're doing, you have a time that's your time. You wonder how Ed Reed will end up year after year with eight, nine interceptions? How Ray Lewis has 100-something tackles?

    "There's no way to explain it, I don't think. It's just his time. He's very focused; very anointed by God right now."

    Atogwe didn't seem all that "anointed" coming out of Stanford in 2005.

    "When he first got here, he didn't have the best ball skills," Haslett said. "He worked on it and worked on it."

    Atogwe made it a point — and still does — to come in on Tuesdays, the players' normal day off during the regular sesason, and work on those ball skills.

    "It was one of the weaknesses that I felt I had — that I wasn't making a lot of plays as far as interceptions on the ball," Atogwe said.

    On Tuesdays, equipment assistant Matt Taylor operates a JUGS machine that spits out football after football Atogwe's way.

    "He'll do anywhere between 200 and 300 balls, and I'll just catch them," Atogwe said. "He shoots them to me from all different angles."

    Slowly but surely, Atogwe's hand-eye coordination improved, and so did his interception totals. After recording just one interception in limited playing time as a rookie, Atogwe picked off three passes in 2006, his first season as a starter. Last...
    -12-11-2008, 04:09 AM
  • RamWraith
    Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams
    by RamWraith
    Third-year free safety topped NFC with eight interceptions

    ST. LOUIS --After leading the NFC in interceptions this season, St. Louis Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe will be one of the more attractive restricted free agents this spring.

    The Rams will retain matching rights to an any offer Atogwe receives. They'll also receive compensation in the form of draft picks from any team signing Atogwe depending on what level of one-year tender offer they make to him.

    The Rams would be wise to tender Atogwe at a first-round level to dissuade teams from pursuing him.

    "I don't even worry about all of that," Atogwe said of being a restricted free agent. "My job is to come out here and work hard and play, and that all takes care of itself. It's not even a concern of mine."

    Asked whether he wanted to remain with the Rams, Atogwe said: "I definitely enjoy being here. I don't know what my future holds. I'm just going to continue to count my blessings and see what happens."

    Atogwe said the Rams' 3-13 season didn't dampen his desire to return to the team.

    "It's not like we were a 3-13 team with guys who didn't like each other or guys who just didn't care about their jobs," Atogwe said. "There wasn't that feeling at all. We just had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on some opportunities we had.

    "It's not a situation where we have a bunch of losers in the locker room. I'd love to come back here."

    Atogwe picked off his eighth pass of the season in the Rams' 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

    Atogwe returned the interception 52 yards late in the third quarter for his first NFL touchdown.

    "I wasn't really able to enjoy it because I was feeling so bad, but I hadn't had a pick six since maybe high school," Atogwe said. "It's definitely a long time coming and something I'll cherish."

    Atogwe played against the Cardinals despite battling a stomach virus.

    "It was never a situation where I wasn't going to play," Atogwe said. "It was just how much could I take, how much could I get through. I was throwing up all day, all morning. The team needed me, and I'm just here to serve."

    Atogwe's eight interceptions ranked second in the NFL behind the 10 grabbed by San Diego's Antonio Cromartie.

    It's also the most interceptions by a Rams player since Dexter McCleon had eight in 2000.

    "It's a great honor," Atogwe said of leading the NFC in interceptions. "There's a lot of great football players in the NFC and AFC. I'm truly blessed."

    Atogwe, a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Stanford, said his personal accomplishments in his...
    -01-02-2008, 03:24 PM
  • RamWraith
    Atogwe Returns to Practice
    by RamWraith
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    It’s been a long, frustrating wait with plenty of starts and stops but free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe finally returned to the practice field on Monday.

    Atogwe has been out of action because of a hamstring injury since the opening days of camp. Aside from a one-day return, Atogwe has not been on the practice field since.

    “You kind of forget the veteran presence that he brings to the back end,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He really has been, obviously, coming on the last couple years for us at safety and I’ve said it all along, he’s been one of our most improved ascending young players we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve kind of missed that here this camp and I think he looked pretty sharp.”

    The return of Atogwe is only more good news for a defense that has been particularly effective in the past two weeks.

    The Rams are taking an approach similar to the one they are using with running back Steven Jackson in order to get Atogwe back up to speed. Atogwe won’t be staying late for a form of simulated workouts but he did take extra repetitions with the second and third defense after working with the starting group.

    “It’s a trying situation whenever you are being prevented from doing something you want to do,” Atogwe said. “It’s a little challenging but you learn stuff in that and come back stronger. I have been the No. 1 cheerleader on that sideline. The boys have been playing great, making a lot of plays, stopping a lot of guys, playing with a lot of mental toughness and a lot of energy and it’s just encouraging for me for when I do return to jump on board and just be a part of that.”

    Atogwe missed the team’s minicamp in May because of a hamstring issue. He believes that something didn’t heal right at that time and that’s why he played so little before hitting the sidelines again.

    Since he was unable to play, Atogwe has spent plenty of time working on the sidelines and riding the bike to keep his legs strong.

    “It was a little hamstring hiccup,” Atogwe said. “It’s probably a little left over from some scar tissues that didn’t quite go away like I wanted to but it just came back and crept up on me. It’s good to go now.”

    It remains to be seen whether Atogwe will play in the preseason finale against Kansas City. The Rams have only one more practice scheduled (tomorrow) before that game and two practices might not be enough to get Atogwe on the field.

    For his part, Atogwe says he’ll take any chance to get on the field and get re-acquainted with collisions.

    “That’s up to the coaches,” Atogwe said. “I love playing. If they want me to play this week I am going to go out there and play. If they don’t want me to play, I won’t play. Anytime I get the opportunity to play, I am going to play.”

    BENTLEY VISITS: Perhaps unsettled by an uncertain...
    -08-26-2008, 04:24 AM
  • RamWraith
    Atogwe overcomes illness for a strong finish
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats and Kathleen Nelson
    Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008

    Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was sick to his stomach Sunday. And it had nothing to
    do with the Rams' queasy 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    Atogwe was fighting a virus that wasn't enough to force him to the sideline,
    but did cause him to stretch out on the visitors locker room floor for several
    minutes afterward before dragging himself off to the showers.

    Despite the illness, Atogwe put together a strong finish to a breakout season.
    The third-year pro from Stanford, a third-round draft pick in 2005, picked off
    his eighth pass — tops in the NFC for the season — late in the third quarter
    and took it back 52 yards for his first NFL touchdown.

    Leading the conference is "a great honor," Atogwe said. "I wasn't able to enjoy
    it because I was feeling so bad. But it's something I'll cherish."

    San Diego's Antonio Cromartie was the league leader, with 10.

    No Rams defender had picked off as many passes in a season since cornerback
    Dexter McCleon also had eight in 2000. Atogwe grabbed a total of four
    interceptions in his first two seasons before doubling that number this year.

    "You're happy that you're playing well, but you don't trade individual success
    for the team's, because there's nothing like playing in January and February,"
    he said. "That's what you really remember when all is said and done."

    The Rams, of course, will have no such memories. Their 3-13 record was the
    team's poorest since moving here in 1995. Still, Atogwe stressed that in the
    NFL, fortunes can change quickly.

    "This year is disappointing, but that has nothing to do with next year," he
    said. "If we put in our work and come back with a different attitude and
    improve on some things, you never know what's going to happen. ...

    "It's not like we were a 3-13 team where guys didn't like each other or guys
    didn't care about their jobs. It wasn't that feeling at all. It was just that
    we had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. ... We
    don't have a bunch of losers in the locker room."

    Atogwe, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, paused when asked
    Monday whether he wanted to return in 2008.

    "I definitely enjoy being here," he said. "But it's not something I worry about
    or stress about; what's going to happen will happen. I played well this year. I
    held up my end of the bargain."
    -01-01-2008, 05:11 AM