Turley released; Bruce OK to practice

Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Rams parted ways with their controversial offensive tackle.

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Kyle Turley, who missed last season with a back injury and then clashed with coach Mike Martz in the offseason, has been released after failing a physical.

Turley was designated as waived, failed physical by the team earlier this week, although there's been no official announcement. The Rams will take a salary cap hit of $1.82 million this year and $5.47 million in 2006.

The Rams on Wednesday also cleared wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who did not participate in the team's three-day minicamp over the weekend due to an abnormality in a heart test, to return to the field. The team expected Bruce to participate in organized team activities this week.

Turley started every game at right tackle in 2003 for the Rams after being acquired from the Saints for a second-round draft pick, but underwent surgery for a herniated disc in March 2004. He reinjured his back early in the 2004 training camp and was placed on injured reserve in late August.

Once at about 310 pounds, Turley had melted to about 235 pounds earlier in this offseason due to forced inactivity. He said he had added about 30 pounds but talked recently about perhaps playing a different position such as tight end or fullback due to his diminished size.

The Rams filled Turley's spot in the lineup when they drafted offensive tackle Alex Barron in the first round of the draft. Turley did not appear at the team's three-day minicamp over last weekend.

Last December, Turley, upset about a remark that the team hadn't seen him since he reinjured the back, engaged in a shouting match with Martz in the coach's office. Turley said then in a statement that there had been a "heated, unfortunately profane exchange" during which he said Martz had told him he had come to St. Louis "just to take the money and run."

Turley said Martz contacted NFL security and claimed the offensive tackle had "threatened his life."

The source of the flare-up was that Turley believed he was rushed back to the field after undergoing offseason back surgery. In turn, the Rams were frustrated that the injury, which was described as minor at the time by a team physician, was a contributing factor to the team's 8-8 record.

In the offseason, appearing on talk radio and other interviews, Turley made several remarks critical of Martz.

Turley was a controversial player in New Orleans, known most for a helmet-tossing episode in 2001. Turley attacked Jets safety Damien Robinson when Robinson grabbed the face mask of Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks, ripping off Robinson's helmet and throwing it downfield.

He then made an obscene gesture that got him ejected. He also drew a 15-yard penalty that ended the Saints' final chance to tie or win the game.

Bruce cleared

Bruce was cleared by Dr. Steven Pieper, a cardiologist who works with the team. Team physician Steven Pogue said Bruce had had a fast heartbeat on an EKG test administered to all players and staff before the minicamp.

Pogue said subsequent tests showed Bruce's heart was normal.

Bruce, 32, is an 11-year veteran who holds team records for receptions and receiving yards and has been selected to play in four Pro Bowls.

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