Martz Happy With New "Dish" On Menu

Martz Happy With New "Dish" On Menu

In late July, Chris Dishman, starting at left guard for the Rams in the opener against his former team, the Arizona Cardinals, never imagined that he would be performing in front of a packed Edward Jones Dome on Sept. 12. The seven-year veteran wasn't even aware the Rams had interest, until some of his young charges at Northstar High in Lincoln, Neb., broke the news to their line coach.

In late July, Chris Dishman, starting at left guard for the Rams in the opener against his former team, the Arizona Cardinals, never imagined that he would be performing in front of a packed Edward Jones Dome on Sept. 12. The seven-year veteran wasn't even aware the Rams had interest, until some of his young charges at Northstar High in Lincoln, Neb., broke the news to their line coach.

They had seen a report on ESPN that the Rams were looking for him, in their desperate search for large, warm bodies in training camp. Dishman got Mike Martz on the phone, and left for Macomb the following day. Unfortunately, the former Nebraska All-American completely embraced retirement when he didn't get a nibble in free agency, gaining about 40 extra pounds after joining the coaching ranks.

"It was tough when I didn't get a phone call early," explained Dishman recently at Rams Park. "I thought I was done, that the phone call wasn't going to come. I was happy to be coaching and knew I had to move on with my life. I was at peace with my decision. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be playing my old team after I retired."

Dishman, who was upfront about his conditioning, or lack of it, was assured by his new coach that he'd be given time to get fit. However, when that lack of available linemen that caused his acquisition got even worse, Dishman was willing to prematurely give it his best shot in game action.

Still overweight and nursing a bad ankle, Dishman saw more playing time than he probably should have early in pre-season, but he still quickly moved up the depth chart at guard. Martz is elated at that development, that once appeared to be the longest of long shots. When asked about the big likeable guard, who started 55 games for the Cardinals, Martz was effusive in his praise.

"He's pretty special, he really is," said Martz after the Rams mid-week practice. "He's got that attitude that you love. There is a toughness to him, and he has such a great passion for playing this game. He wasn't ready to retire, happy to come back and play. He's just having fun, but he loves what he does, and to see a guy that passionate about playing football. You always hope that all the guys are like that."

With Orlando Pace on his left to ease his adjustment period, Dishman knows "I don't have to worry much about him losing his battles over there, and it's nice to know you have a shutdown tackle in there beside you." Dishman hopes the Rams can exploit his run-blocking ability. "Hopefully they get us on some double teams and we can move some people out of there," said Dishman.

Dishman is still getting "the business" from his prep players. "Some of them call, telling me to keep my pads lower on my blocks and stuff. It's nice to have those kids there to humble me," he said. He intends to use his saga as an example once he is back coaching again, whenever that may be, as an example to, "Just keep your head up and keep working, and push through it, because good things can happen."

Dishman is hoping to win a Super Bowl ring, to complete a "trifecta" of championship bling-bling. "I got one in high school, two in college, and so I need one in the NFL," he explained. "I think this team has a really good chance to make it to the Super Bowl, and that's why I am here."

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