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  • Back ailment has hindered Archuleta

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 28 2004

    Ask Rams strong safety Adam Archuleta how his troublesome back is feeling these
    days, and you'll get a sly grin and this measured response: "It's all right.
    It's been worse."

    True, it has been worse.

    A bulging disc in his lower back caused him to miss two starts last month, when
    he was reduced to duty in the nickel and dime packages against San Francisco
    and Seattle. Before that, Archuleta had started 44 of 45 games in his four NFL
    seasons.

    Being limited in any way rankles Archuleta, whose game is rooted in high-speed
    sprints and high-impact hits.

    "He's an emotional leader, just by how he plays and the aggressiveness he
    brings to the defense," Rams coach Mike Martz said.

    For much of this season, though, Archuleta's explosiveness has been neutralized
    somewhat by his back problems.

    "He's managed it pretty well ... (but) he's taken a step back occasionally,"
    Martz said. "I always know when it's bothering him, because you can just tell
    by how he moves around."

    Archuleta, who turned 27 on Saturday, has remained productive. His 85 tackles
    rank second on the team to linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa's 95.

    Archuleta's 8 1/2 tackles-per-game pace would put him at 136 by season's end
    and would be the second-highest total (he had 149 in 2002) for the former
    Arizona State walk-on. Free safety Aeneas Williams calls Archuleta "a tackling
    machine."

    But Archuleta has been less of a disruptive force than in the past, recording
    just one sack and four tackles-for-loss. He said his back "tightens up on me
    and doesn't allow me to move as well as I'd like to move."

    Archuleta doesn't want any pity parties held in his honor, though.

    "I'm not a guy who likes to sit here and make excuses," he said. "Everybody
    knows it's a lot more ideal situation to play in the NFL when you're healthy.
    But the reality of it is, are you ever really going to be healthy? It's just
    something that's part of the job. ...

    "Once you've hurt a back during the season, it's not going to go away. You've
    just got to get it to the point where you can still play and be effective and
    be accountable to your teammates."

    Don't mistake Archuleta's philosophical stance, however: He's plenty
    frustrated.

    "It's not something I'm used to," he said. "For whatever reasons, I haven't
    felt like myself. Whether that's the back or whether it's ... who knows?"

    Fellow safety Rich Coady, who started in Archuleta's place vs. the ***** and
    Seahawks, said his close friend is driven by a "desire to be great. Off the
    field, he's pretty laid-back. But you get him on the field and the mentality
    changes, the mind-set changes. He's definitely one of those guys."

    And when he can't throw everything - especially his 6-foot, 223-pound body -
    head-long into every play, his exasperation grows.

    He was particularly upset that despite his tight coverage, Buffalo tight end
    Mark Campbell outfought him for a 10-yard touchdown catch after the Rams had
    rolled up a 10-0 lead and put the Bills on the road to a 37-17 victory.

    "It's a situation where I feel like if I'm in position, I need to make that
    play," Archuleta said. "It's a one-on-one battle, and that's what this game is
    made up of, one-on- one battles. I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't come
    out on top."

    It's been a recurring theme of sorts, Archuleta acknowledged, which has added
    to his dissatisfaction.

    "There are a handful of plays that have happened this season where I've said,
    'You know what, I should make that play. That's something that I need to do,'"
    he said. "And until I make those plays or until I prevent those from happening,
    then I never will be where I want to be."

    Archuleta said that as the back has improved, "I've been more consistent. But
    at the same time, I'm not where I'd like to be. I expect more out of myself."

    Archuleta won't need surgery; he plans to gear his offseason conditioning
    program toward preventing a reoccurrence.

    "I've just got to take real good care of it and make sure that's an emphasis,"
    he said. "I don't want something like this to happen again."

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    Back ailment has hindered Archuleta
    by Guest
    Back ailment has hindered Archuleta
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    11/28/2004

    The Rams' Adam Archuleta gets one of his 85 tackles this season, stopping the Patriots' David Givens on Nov. 7. He's on pace for 136, which would be his second-highest pro total.
    (Elsa/Getty Images)


    Ask Rams strong safety Adam Archuleta how his troublesome back is feeling these days, and you'll get a sly grin and this measured response: "It's all right. It's been worse."

    True, it has been worse.

    A bulging disc in his lower back caused him to miss two starts last month, when he was reduced to duty in the nickel and dime packages against San Francisco and Seattle. Before that, Archuleta had started 44 of 45 games in his four NFL seasons.

    Being limited in any way rankles Archuleta, whose game is rooted in high-speed sprints and high-impact hits.

    "He's an emotional leader, just by how he plays and the aggressiveness he brings to the defense," Rams coach Mike Martz said.

    For much of this season, though, Archuleta's explosiveness has been neutralized somewhat by his back problems.

    "He's managed it pretty well ... (but) he's taken a step back occasionally," Martz said. "I always know when it's bothering him, because you can just tell by how he moves around."

    Archuleta, who turned 27 on Saturday, has remained productive. His 85 tackles rank second on the team to linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa's 95.

    Archuleta's 8 1/2 tackles-per-game pace would put him at 136 by season's end and would be the second-highest total (he had 149 in 2002) for the former Arizona State walk-on. Free safety Aeneas Williams calls Archuleta "a tackling machine."

    But Archuleta has been less of a disruptive force than in the past, recording just one sack and four tackles-for-loss. He said his back "tightens up on me and doesn't allow me to move as well as I'd like to move."

    Archuleta doesn't want any pity parties held in his honor, though.

    "I'm not a guy who likes to sit here and make excuses," he said. "Everybody knows it's a lot more ideal situation to play in the NFL when you're healthy. But the reality of it is, are you ever really going to be healthy? It's just something that's part of the job. ...

    "Once you've hurt a back during the season, it's not going to go away. You've just got to get it to the point where you can still play and be effective and be accountable to your teammates."

    Don't mistake Archuleta's philosophical stance, however: He's plenty frustrated.

    "It's not something I'm used to," he said. "For whatever reasons, I haven't felt like myself. Whether that's the back or whether it's ... who knows?" ...
    -11-28-2004, 11:26 PM
  • RamWraith
    Archuleta gets some relief from back pain
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Jan. 05 2005

    When Rams strong safety Adam Archuleta awoke one morning at training camp with
    "a little back twinge," he thought little of it.

    "I tend to overlook little injuries," Archuleta said. "They've always just kind
    of gone away and taken care of themselves. But this time, it just kept getting
    worse."

    An MRI after the regular-season opener against Arizona disclosed a bulging
    disc. Archuleta missed two starts in early October and only recently, after
    treatment by a back specialist, has he experienced a measure of relief.

    "I've had to pretty much grind it out throughout the year," said Archuleta, a
    6-foot, 223-pound fourth-year pro from Arizona State. "It's been manageable,
    and I've been able to play and get through it. It's starting to feel better."

    Archuleta, whose game features high-speed collisions, acknowledged that the
    injury has restricted him. "I think it's evident that I haven't been as
    physical," said Archuleta, 27. "Due to not being able to work out throughout
    the season and my body just kind of going a little bit downhill and not having
    that explosion and that pop, I've got to say that it's been a factor."

    Coach Mike Martz suspected early that Archuleta had a problem. "When you see
    Adam kind of shy away a little bit, there's something wrong," Martz said.
    "Physically, he was all locked up back there."

    Still, Archuleta ranks second on the team in tackles, with 123 (linebacker Pisa
    Tinoisamoa has 145) heading into Saturday's first-round playoff game at
    Seattle. That's Archuleta's second-highest total, only 26 off his career high.

    He said he felt he could've had a much better season, though, had he sought a
    medical remedy sooner. "It's kind of my fault for not really taking care of it
    when it first started acting up. I really didn't say much about it, and I kind
    of let it get out of control," Archuleta said. "It was like, 'Oh, I've got a
    little back twinge. It'll be all right. It's me, I'm indestructible. ...'

    "It's frustrating, just because I have an obligation to my teammates. When I
    don't bring that intimidating, physical presence to the defense, I feel like I
    let everybody down. It's hard to look at the guys in the eye."

    With a firm jaw, he promised that he'd be hale and hearty come the start of the
    2005 season. Surgery won't be necessary, but he said he vowed to get plenty of
    rest and rehabilitation during the offseason.

    "Trust me, this won't happen again," Archuleta said. "I've learned a...
    -01-06-2005, 06:28 AM
  • RamWraith
    Archuleta likes "career" change
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/24/2005

    Sure, Adam Archuleta was surprised that his "career" at free safety lasted all of one exhibition game. But you always can expect the unexpected at Rams Park, particularly in August.

    "We're trying to sort through some things and sort through some personnel," Archuleta said. "So it's better now than in the middle of the season."

    Coach Mike Martz announced Monday that Archuleta was moving back to strong safety, the position he has played in the NFL since being selected by the Rams in the first round of the 2001 draft.

    "It's going to be a good thing for us, and I think it's going to help our defense," Archuleta said. "I play strong safety. That's what I am. I love playing that position."

    He loves being closer to the line of scrimmage, more involved in run defense and more involved in blitzing.

    "I've always enjoyed being the guy to be able to mix it up," Archuleta said. "To be able to run around and just cause havoc, that's kind of my game. Being a free safety gave me an opportunity to be in on different types of plays. But now, I just like being able to fly around and just have fun. ... That's when I'm at the top of my game."

    One reason for the switch to free safety was concern about his back. He played in pain most of 2004 with an injury that eventually was diagnosed as a herniated disc. The free-safety position involves more coverage and less banging than strong safety, so in theory, the switch would be easier on his back.

    Archuleta said his back came out of Sunday's San Diego game in good shape.

    "Sure, you get sore," he said. "It's the first time I've had a contact since January. Especially full-speed contact. But I was fine working out hard the next day. It felt pretty good."

    Nonetheless, Archuleta felt some anxiety entering the San Diego game, not sure how his back would respond to full contact.

    "Am I going to be able to move around?" he wondered. "I started the game out pretty stiff, but as the game went along, I loosened up, and everything started working better, and I was flying around better. So it was definitely a step in the right direction."

    Unfortunately for Archuleta and the Rams, running back LaDainian Tomlinson came streaking into the secondary on San Diego's fifth offensive play, long before Archuleta got loosened up.

    Tomlinson easily eluded Archuleta with an open-field fake and raced to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown. Given the amount of space Tomlinson had to work with, could anyone have brought him down in the open field?

    "It depends on who you ask," Archuleta said.

    In comments after the game, Martz said he thought Archuleta should...
    -08-25-2005, 05:57 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated disc
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Feb. 18 2005

    Adam Archuleta got some jarring news when he visited a back specialist in San
    Francisco in late January. Namely, that he had played at least part of the 2004
    season with a herniated disc in his back.

    At least that was the diagnosis of Jeff Saal, a nationally recognized expert in
    non-surgical treatment for back injuries.
    Archuleta's reaction was part disappointment.

    "I'm dealing with kind of a career (threatening) deal," Archuleta said. "A
    back, if not taken care of, can cause serious problems. I'm kind of scared. But
    at the same time, I'm kind of amazed that I was actually able to play strong
    safety with this type of deal going on."
    For that reason, Archuleta's reaction was also part relief.

    "I (thought), 'Well at least I'm not crazy,'" Archuleta said. "I know it wasn't
    just a figment of my imagination all season. In a way, it made me feel better
    about what I was going through."
    Initial test results, done early in the 2004 season, showed that Archuleta had
    a bulging disc in the back. While nothing to laugh at, a bulging disc isn't as
    serious as a herniated disc.
    "At the time, I was told that it was not a big deal," Archuleta said. "That it
    was a typical football player's back. That I had the same thing that Marshall
    (Faulk) had. The same thing that Torry (Holt) had. The same thing that Rich
    (Coady) had. So I asked those guys how they were feeling. And they were like,
    fine."
    Because they still were playing, Archuleta figured he should do the same.

    "I was still able to go out there and play, albeit not at the level that I or
    anybody else expected me to play at," Archuleta said.
    As a result, Archuleta probably hurt his reputation as a player. He was limited
    to nickel and dime back duty in October games in San Francisco and Seattle, but
    otherwise kept playing.
    "It was a weird and bad situation to be in," Archuleta said. "You feel like you
    have an obligation to your team, and your teammates. And at what point, when
    you're not 100 percent, do you say, 'I can't play?' I've never been faced with
    that in my career."
    It is now clear, according to Saal's evaluation, that Archuleta's back
    deteriorated as the season progressed. Archuleta has been undergoing treatment
    from Saal, who is based at Stanford University Hospital, since shortly after
    the Rams' playoff loss to Atlanta.
    Archuleta received an epidural shot of medication on Feb. 2, and received
    another epidural on Wednesday.
    "Adam's made tremendous strides over the last couple weeks," said...
    -02-19-2005, 06:34 AM
  • ArchuletaFan31
    Fear Adam Archuleta May Not Possess It, But His Opponents Do
    by ArchuletaFan31
    Fear

    Adam Archuleta May Not Possess It, But His Opponents Do

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Most kids spend their adolescent years learning how to deal with pain. Whether it is the physical kind of pain suffered from falling off a bike or the kind where they must learn about how to deal with the loss of a loved one, important lessons are gleaned from everywhere. Most kids are like that… most.

    Adam Archuleta was always the exception. Pain is not a word that is in his vocabulary. He was always “that” kid, the kid who would scrape his knee and laugh about it. He wouldn’t let much of anything bother him.

    He didn’t care much for people in charge and he was always looking to do something to challenge the system. It was just his way. More than that, he could easily shake off any kind of physical pain.

    Archuleta recalls the time when he was 4 and decided to ride his bike on an icy hill, by no means a safe idea. Of course, Archuleta fell off his bike and by the time he landed, he had his first concussion, the first of many. He wasn’t bothered, though; he simply went to the hospital and got over it. That’s the way he has always been; think outside the box, confront the people with clout and defy common thought.

    “I was always getting hurt,” Archuleta said. “I was not really afraid of anything. I used to ride my bike down the tall slides. I’d fall off and get bloodied up. I used to jump off the roof. I used to do whatever; it was just kind of how it was when I was a kid.”

    Based on those qualities you might think Archuleta is simply crazy. Make no mistake, he is one of the most interesting and intelligent players in the NFL, but he couldn’t do what he does on a weekly basis without that kind of mentality. He couldn’t do what he did to get where he is either.

    Archuleta took his fearless approach to life, applied it to football and became one of the league’s most feared safeties. He will never hesitate to stick his nose in and make contact. In fact, he doesn’t care if he is the one dishing out the pain or receiving it.

    “Maybe I was just being bred for contact,” Archuleta said. “It could have been somebody’s way of preparing me for the NFL.”

    That preparation for contact and the sheer enjoyment of the game has always been omnipresent in Archuleta. Never the biggest, the fastest or the strongest, he got by on will. It was that will that took him from walk-on at Arizona State to three-year starter for the Sun Devils. It helped him play linebacker though he was undersized at about 200 pounds for the position. It resulted in 330 tackles.

    In the end, his desire lifted him from lowly walk-on to the 20th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He switched from linebacker to strong safety because of his size. But standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 209 pounds, Archuleta still has...
    -11-17-2004, 02:50 PM
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