Proehl rattled after taking hard shot

Monday, July 29, 2002

MACOMB, Ill. -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Ricky Proehl, who makes his living going across the middle, took an unexpected hard shot from a teammate Sunday.

Safety Kim Herring clocked Proehl as the two converged on the ball during a passing drill near the end of the morning workout. Cornerback Dexter McCleon also was in on the hit, and Proehl was down for several minutes.

"I saw Kim coming, so I just tried to stop and jump out of the way so they wouldn't hit me, too," McCleon said. "They were both going for the ball, and neither one saw each other."

After practice, Proehl, 34, said he felt fine and just had the wind knocked out of him.

"He may not have seen me come across till late," Proehl said. "It's good. I got the first hit out of the way, and a lot of times you want that."

In practice, players are supposed to avoid hard contact, and ballcarriers are supposed to stay on their feet.

"But you know what, it happens," Proehl said. "Sometimes it can't be avoided. I know he didn't mean to do it, but when you play at the speed and the tempo we play at things like that are going to happen."

Proehl, the senior member of the Rams in terms of NFL experience as he enters his 14th season, said he's feeling good early in camp and wants to keep it that way. To that end, he'll be taking it easy in practices and preserving his body for the long haul.

"I want to remain fresh and stay healthy, so I'm kind of monitoring the reps I'm taking," Proehl said. "You slowly work into it and you get crisper in your route-running as time goes on."

The morning practice also was notable for a fight between All-Pro offensive tackle Orlando Pace and defensive end John Burrough. The two scrapped, with Pace by far getting the best of it, one play after Pace stuffed Burrough in a one-on-one drill.

"It was just one of those things," Pace said. "Two guys playing hard and trying to make a play, trying to get better. Sometimes some things happen. It was nothing big."

Coaches didn't intervene immediately. Pace, 6-7 and 320 pounds, said that was a wise decision.

"When you've got two big guys in there wrestling around, guys don't really want to jump in," Pace said. "They might get caught with a shot."

Notes from camp

  • At least three players had to be helped from the dining room after cramping up following the two practices. Two offensive linemen carried WR Francis St. Paul out, CB Jerametrius Butler shambled out between two teammates and DT Jeff Zgonina was administered IV fluids at his table. The temperature was in the high 90s with high humidity for the afternoon practice.

    So far, coach Mike Martz is avoiding criticism of his players: "We've got a bunch of young guys that are very frustrated right now, and the only thing you do by getting overly anxious with them is increase their frustration. Right now they need more encouragement than anything else."

    The Rams worked out in full pads for the first time in the afternoon practice. LB Courtland Bullard, the team's fifth-round draft pick, made it through the day without heat-related problems after having to leave the field in both of the practices on the first day Saturday

    OG Travis Scott, the team's fourth-round pick, got manhandled during one-on-one drills in Sunday's second practice. OL coach Jim Hanifan said Scott was fatigued after losing 15 pounds the first day of practice.

    After two days of two-a-days, the Rams will practice once this afternoon. There will be a special teams workout in the morning.

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