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Bulger may have played his final game in St. Louis

Sunday, November 29, 2009

(Photo)
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger leaves the field with quarterbacks coach Richard Curl after being injured during last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
(JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)
Some wonder about the future of the injured Rams quarterback

ST. LOUIS -- Some in St. Louis wonder if Marc Bulger has played his last game with the Rams. The quarterback says it's too early to speculate about his future.

Bulger will miss at least three weeks and could be out for the remaining six games with a fractured left shin bone. He was on crutches Friday at practice and said there will be plenty of time to determine if he is back in 2010.

"We've got six weeks to go in this season, and whether I come back this season, we'll see," Bulger said. "We'll have plenty of time on the offseason to make those [other] decisions. I don't want to be a distraction in any way. We're thinking optimistic around here."

Kyle Boller will start today as St. Louis (1-9) hosts Seattle (3-7).

Bulger injured the shin two weeks ago in a 28-23 loss to New Orleans, and it became worse in last Sunday's 21-13 loss to Arizona. The magnitude of the injury caught Bulger by surprise.

"We checked it out [after New Orleans] and the ligaments were fine and when you check knees you look at the ligaments," Bulger said. "You never think in a million years that it could possibly be a bone. You get sore knees every week in this league.

"If you're not willing to play with pain, there's guys right behind you willing to take your job."

Boller has played in three games with two starts this year. He has completed 49 of 86 passes for 481 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

"He's played a lot of football in this league," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I think the guys around him feel real confident."

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Boller has been solid filling in for Bulger.

"Kyle has played a lot of games in this league and he's won a lot of games in this league," Shurmur said. "I anticipate he's going to out and have a nice day."

Bulger said he hopes to be on the sideline today, providing some mentoring for rookie third-string quarterback Keith Null.

It was another injury that gave Bulger the starting job in St. Louis, replacing Kurt Warner in 2003. Warner had led the Rams to a 40-17 record as a starter and to two Super Bowls, winning one. Along the way, Warner earned two MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP.

Bulger has had his moments, guiding St. Louis to a 12-4 record in 2003, and went to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006, when he threw for more than 4,000 yards. After that season, the Rams rewarded him with a six-year contract worth $65 million.

But a team in decline and injuries have limited Bulger's effectiveness since. It doesn't help that Bulger has played under five head coaches and numerous offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches.

Bulger knows the quarterback is always going to take much of the blame when things go wrong.

"I think you could go to any team in the NFL right now, well, maybe 30 teams, and the quarterback is getting grief one week or another, whether it's a Pro Bowler and the team is 9-1 or 8-2," Bulger said. "It comes with the position, and I know it sounds like a cliche, but you know what your getting yourself into. It's part of your job.

"If you can't take it, then become a punter."

For now, Bulger isn't ruling out playing again this season.

"I'd love to come back and play a couple of games," Bulger said. "At the same time, it might not happen."


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