The St. Louis Rams have released tackle Orlando Pace, the team announced today.
“I can’t begin to thank Orlando for all he has meant to the Rams organization, since we selected him with the first overall pick in the 1997 draft,” said Rams Owner/Chairman Chip Rosenbloom. “It is never easy to end a relationship that has had as much success as ours, but in the best interest of Orlando and the Rams, we feel now is the right time. As a Super Bowl Champion and seven-time Pro Bowler, he has been a true professional and will always go down as one of the finest Rams of all time. We wish him, Carla and their children the very best as they move onto the next chapter of their football journey.”
Pace, 33, was the selected by the Rams as the No. 1 overall choice in the 1997 NFL Draft out of Ohio State University. The Rams acquired the choice from the New York Jets in exchange for the Rams’ first- (sixth overall), third- (67), fourth- (102) and seventh- (207) round draft picks. Pace was the first offensive lineman chosen No. 1 overall since the Minnesota Vikings chose Ron Yary in the 1968 NFL Draft.
“Orlando Pace has been a mainstay on the Rams’ offensive line since he was drafted in 1997, and has proven to be one of the most efficient offensive tackles throughout his career,” said Rams General Manager Billy Devaney. “We thank him for all that he has done for the St. Louis Rams and we wish him the best for the remainder of his career.”
In his 12 seasons with the Rams, Pace started at left tackle in two Super Bowls, Super Bowl XXXIV, the Rams’ 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and Super Bowl XXXVI.
Pace was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1999-2005. Pace’s seven Pro Bowl appearances tie him for fourth in Rams’ history behind Hall of Fame defensive tackle Merlin Olsen (14), Hall of Fame guard Tom Mack (11), linebacker Les Richter (8), and equal to Hall of Fame defensive Jack Youngblood (7).
From 1999-2001, Pace blocked for three consecutive NFL Most Valuable Players: QB Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2001, and RB Marshall Faulk in 2000.
Pace has played in 158 career games with 154 starts and has started all 10 postseason contests he has played.
PACE’S Games Played-Starts: (RAMS) 1997 (13/9), 1998 (16/16), 1999 (16/16), 2000 (16/16), 2001 (16/16), 2002 (10/10), 2003 (16/16), 2004 (16/16), 2005 (16/16), 2006 (8/8), 2007 (1/1), 2008 (14/14). Totals: (158/154). Postseason: (RAMS) 1999 (3/3), 2000 (1/1), 2001 (3/3), 2003 (1/1), 2004 (2/2). Postseason Totals: (10/10).