Proehl is some catch for Rams

Unheralded receiver came up big vs. Bucs

NFC notebook

January 28, 2000|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- When Ricky Proehl made the game-winning, 30-yard touchdown catch that put the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl last week, he didn't realize just what a catch it was until he saw a photo of it in the newspaper the next day.

The photo showed him catching the bottom of the ball with his left arm against his shoulder before pulling it in.

"When I saw the picture, I said, `Wow.' When you see it happen in fast motion, it looks like it was just a routine catch. In slow motion and in the picture, it looks like a tough catch. I'm just fortunate I held onto it. I didn't catch it cleanly. As I watched it on film, as the ball was on my shoulder with one arm, I reached over with my other arm and grabbed it. It's something you dream about," he said.

His mother had a dream last week that he would catch the game-winning touchdown pass in the NFC championship game.

Obscured by Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Az-Zahir Hakim, Proehl hadn't caught a touchdown pass all season. He's caught 466 passes in his career, but he didn't get much notice because he played for four teams and never made the playoffs before this year.

Temperature change

The Rams were happy that both teams will be allowed to practice at the Georgia Dome today after struggling with the windy, chilly weather at practice the past two days.

From L.A. to St. Louis

Cornerback Todd Lyght is one of the veterans who was with the team in Los Angeles, and he feared at times the losing would never end.

"At times, I thought we couldn't get this thing turned around. We'd lose great players like Jerome Bettis and Sean Gilbert. We weren't keeping our core guys together," he said.

Line of the day

Dick Vermeil got off the best line of the day when he was asked about Hakim guaranteeing a victory.

"He guaranteed a victory?" Vermeil asked. "I think that's a case of overloading the rear end with the mouth."

Remember Wally Pipp?

Trent Green knows Wally Pipp.

"Yes, I knew of Wally before my situation," said Green of the first baseman who supposedly had a headache and was replaced by Lou Gehrig.

Green is the quarterback whose injury opened the door for Kurt Warner.

"When I got hurt and Kurt started playing well, I informed my wife who Wally Pipp was because she didn't know and sure enough, a couple of weeks later, it was mentioned for the first time," he said. "She didn't appreciate it. I had a coach in college, George Belu, the offensive coordinator line coach, who told his offensive line, `Are you hurt or are you injured?' And guys would decide one way or the other, and he'd say, `Have you ever heard of Wally Pipp?' That was his pressure tactic."

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