candidate 6/2

Sunday, June 2, 2002

MARTZ DENIES RUMORS

OF CANDIDATE TRADE

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz denied Saturday the club is shopping running back Trung Candidate, the team's No. 1 draft pick in 2000.

Rumors fueled by internet speculation brought a chuckle from Martz after the team's first minicamp practice. Canidate played sparingly last season after a costly fumble in a 34-31 loss to the Saints on Oct. 28, but Martz said the team had no plans to trade the running back.

"Somebody's got a pretty good sense of humor or a bad one, I guess, I don't know," Martz said. "That's just ridiculous. I don't know how that got started or where that got started. We've never not been pleased with Trung, first of all. He's a very valuable part of what we do."

"There's no way we're going to trade this guy."

No one, Martz said, has contacted him or the team about a trade.

Candidate averaged 5.7 yards a carry on 441 yards rushing, scoring six touchdowns last season. Candidate caught 17 passes for 154 yards. He also returned 36 kickoffs, averaging 20.8 yards a return.

The Rams drafted North Dakota State rookie Lamar Gordon in the third round to push Candidate for the backup spot behind Marshall Faulk. Receiver Terrence Wilkins, who came to the Rams in a trade with Indianapolis, will be in the mix to return kickoffs.

-- AP

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