Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slater's Number Up as Rams Retire It

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slater's Number Up as Rams Retire It

Article excerpt

Whenever Jackie Slater shows up at the Trans World Dome, special things happen.

On Nov. 12, 1995, Slater played in his one and only game as a St. Louis Ram in what was the first football game played in the TWA Dome.

And on Sunday night, in a rare prime-time appearance for the Rams against Green Bay, Slater's jersey number (78) was retired at halftime. "It's quite an honor," Slater said. "When you start out playing a game that you love, you never even think about something like this." Slater played 20 seasons and 259 games in the NFL. But only that one game in St. Louis. "The people (in St. Louis) treated me very nice," Slater said. "I'll always remember and appreciate them. I would have loved to have played another four or five years in St. Louis. "It was a very special moment because I knew it was something new that was happening. A brand-new stadium, a brand-new city. People excited about the new team being here. And for me, it was like being a part of it. It made me a part of history." More history was made Sunday night. Slater became only the second Rams player to have his jersey officially retired. Merlin Olsen's 74 was retired in 1977. Although not officially retired, the numbers of Bob Waterfield (7), Elroy Hirsch (40) and Jack Youngblood (85) are not issued. "It's really flattering and humbling and all of the above," Slater said. "I can honestly say it's a thrill." With several former teammates on hand, Slater was presented with a framed jersey by team owners Georgia Frontiere and Stan Kroenke. "This is beautiful, really beautiful," Slater told the cheering crowd. Slater, 42, blocked for seven 1,000-yard rushers during his NFL career. He appeared in seven Pro Bowls and was named NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year four times. These days, he's working for ESPN television and radio, but got out of his radio duties this weekend for Sunday's ceremonies. "I'm staying busy, and I kind of enjoy it," Slater said. "But the travel schedule is kind of tough. …

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