“God bless Coach (Dick) Vermeil,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said following Tuesday morning’s practice session. “He came in, he watched practice all day yesterday, and he hung around here, talked to people and he addressed the team at the team meeting which was outstanding. He loved it. I think the players loved it. I loved it, so it worked out really good.”
With one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, many of the current Rams were in high school or college when Vermeil led the Rams to the Super Bowl XXXIV championship following the 1999 season. Some, like 22-year-old rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, weren’t even teenagers yet.
But Vermeil’s message definitely made an impact.
“He spoke on adversity and adversity being a great teacher if you use it to your benefit,” safety O.J. Atogwe said. “In any man’s life he’s going to be met with adversity and you can either triumph over it or you can fall to it — it can make you better or make you worse. I believe all that we are going through and we have been through is for a purpose and that purpose is to be better.”
The Rams had more visitors during Tuesday morning’s practice — flamboyant boxing promoter Don King and WBC and IBF junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander.
Alexander, a St. Louis native, is fighting Andriy Kotelnik on Saturday in a nationally televised bout at Scottrade Center and his visit to Rams Park on Tuesday was part of the week-long promotion leading up to the fight.
Spagnuolo said after practice he would be rooting for Alexander.
“I have a lot of respect for boxers and what they do and how they train and what they go through,” the coach said. “… (Alexander) said he was a Rams fan so I’ll be cheering for him on Saturday.”
Several players posed for pictures with King following the morning practice.