Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's High Time for Orlando to Tag His Team

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's High Time for Orlando to Tag His Team

Article excerpt

Memo to Orlando Pace:

Dear Big Fella,

You're blowing it.

The football fans of St. Louis were ready to embrace all 335 pounds of you. As the No. 1 overall draft choice who happens to be an extremely large and affable man, you were set to be the biggest athlete in town.

Really, the situation was ideal for you. The Cardinals are awful. The Blues are dull. The Rams are short in the personality department. This sports town needs a new star. Not a foolish late-summer rental, like Mark McGwire, but a lasting presence in the community.

You were that guy. You can still be that guy. But right now, you're coming off as just another greedy athlete. Worse, you haven't backed up your own words. Your apparent sincerity was a joke. When the Rams drafted you, we heard you say all the right things about signing a contract on time and "instructing" your agents, the tag-team Postons, to get you into camp on time.

Everyone believed it. But that was just talk. Obviously, you didn't mean it. If you did, you'd be in training camp, learning to play the offensive line. But you've missed 29 practices and one preseason game. It's getting late.

Orlando, your image is taking a hit. It's time to play football. The Rams aren't going to increase the amount of money they've pitched. The Rams already have offered you the richest rookie contract in NFL history, and there's no more room for additional funds because of the NFL salary cap. So what else is there? You won't find any sympathy here, not with so many people working two jobs just to survive.

In June, you said you wanted more than what the New York Jets gave last year's No. 1 pick, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson (six years, $15 million). Fine. The Rams topped Keyshawn's money. The tag team rejected it. Then Oakland signed the No. 2 overall choice, Darrell Russell, to a seven-year, $22 million deal. One of the tag-team Postons said Russell's deal was good.

Less than 36 hours later, the Rams responded with a more lucrative version of the Russell deal: $23. …

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