Like all NFL teams, the Rams turn the page on the final chapter of the 2010 football season. With the St. Louis Rams, there are several procedures that take place once a season comes to an end.
The first order of business, is the exiting physical with Head Trainer Reggie Scott and the team Doctors and Physicians. The players receive X-Rays, Cat Scans (if needed), MRI’s and complete blood work. If there is something wrong a player, the season ending physical will display all information. Because the player is the product and a major team investment, of millions and millions of dollars, repairs must be done ASAP. It’s like a car you want to last over a 100,000 miles, you better take care of it every step of the journey.
Most of the 53 players, drive or fly, to wherever they call home. Several get their cars shipped to the final destination, close out their apartments for those that don’t live in St. Louis full time and boogie out of town. For the player and his family that live in the LOU all year around, its vacation time somewhere warm, let the body heal up while they bask in some warm Caribbean salt water, white sand squishing through their toes, while enjoying a few tropical cocktails, a beer/shot or a slushy full of fresh fruit and loaded with whey protein, bottom line catch up on some rest and relation.
For those that need repair or mending (better known as post season surgery), they get in line for the proper surgical procedure within the next few days, by the team physicians or a specialists that need scheduling.
In my fifteen years in the league, I’ve seen it were a single player had to have; Ankle surgery for cleanup, Shoulder surgery to repair rotator cuff and his knee scoped to clean out loose bodies. Some surgeries are minor, others are major and require the player remain at team facilities for complete rehabbing with Head Trainer and Strength Coach. Depending on the surgery, player’s goals are to be ready for OTA’s (organized team activities) at worst case situation be ready to go for training camp in July.
I’ve known several players that don’t believe in surgery, are afraid to go under the knife. In football, it is inevitable that you will need some surgical procedure during a career. One important question when speaking with College Athletic trainers and NFL team trainers if the player is a draftee or a free agent being recruited, when talking medical history, surgical awareness and willingness.
The second most important business is the exiting interview with the Head Coach. All head Coaches give an interview one/one, some allow the coordinators in the meeting with the position coach. But for the most part, each team allows the Head man to break down the player’s season, a meeting just between coach and player.
Depending on the player, this conversation could go several different directions. You have Rookies, Veterans, UFA (unrestricted free agents). Playtime is discussed, with all players. With the Rookies, they get direction, the plan that is set for them during off season and the growth needed from a physical and mental stand point.
For the Veterans, coach will talk about playtime as well as overall plan, and how the player fits in those plans as the team moves forward in the continuous development of the championship foundation. The players body composition in weight gain, weight loss and possible positional change, or depth chart development.
For UFA’s, the conversation is about how they fit in the picture as the young team moves forward. In this meeting with the UFA, there is a good chance the GM (general manager) and COO (chief operating officer or money man) get involved.
It is extremely important that a balance and mix of young and old is maintained. Free agency and the draft are the two main avenues in the procurement of talent. It is important that the college director and pro personnel staff work hard, to identify all possibilities and find the proper players that one fit, two contribute and three have youth and limited injury history. The Draft is the bloodline and future of the organization, will Free Agency fills hot spots.
The Rams brain trust must evaluate and preserve the core, but stimulate the process.