Turley says he did not threaten Martz

Originally Published: December 29, 2004
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Kyle Turley, upset about a remark that the team hadn't seen him since he injured his back in training camp, acknowledged he engaged in a recent shouting match with coach Mike Martz, but said he did not threaten him.

Turley said in a statement Wednesday that there was a "heated, unfortunately profane exchange" on Dec. 13. During the exchange in Martz' office, he said the coach told him he had come to St. Louis "just to take the money and run."

On Wednesday, Martz called the flare-up with Turley in his office "a nothing deal." He wouldn't comment on Turley's allegation that he had filed a complaint with NFL security that Turley threatened him.

"Martz contacted league security and falsely claimed I had threatened his life," Turley said. "I was thoroughly interviewed by league staff with regard to his baseless allegation."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said league rules bar him from discussing the matter, saying "conversations between the clubs and NFL security are confidential."

Turley could be subject to a fine over the matter.

"He came in and basically was concerned with a remark I made when I was asked on TV, 'Where's Kyle?' and I said 'I haven't seen him, I don't know,' " Martz said. "He came in out of the blue, and it was pretty animated.

"He's a very emotional guy and we had a discussion about it."

Martz said that by the end of the discussion, which included details of Turley's offseason conditioning plans, the offensive tackle had calmed down. But he didn't say the two left on good terms.

"We came to an agreement," Martz said.

Turley has had little contact with the team since going on injured reserve in early August. Martz has said he had no success contacting Turley after the player left the team early in training camp to visit specialists about his back.

Turley's playing weight is listed as 309 pounds, about average for an NFL offensive lineman, but he has shrunk to about 240 pounds since the injury. He said in August that he lost about 30 pounds due to forced inactivity following the surgery.

"I'd like to have him back, if he can play," Martz said.

The source of the flare-up was that Turley believed he was rushed back to the field after undergoing offseason back surgery. In turn, the Rams were frustrated that the injury, which was described as minor at the time by a team physician, was a contributing factor to a disappointing 7-8 record heading into Sunday's season finale against the New York Jets.

Untested Blaine Saipaia has made four starts at Turley's right tackle spot after Grant Williams, who has battled injuries and ineffectiveness all year, started 10 of the first 11 games there.

Turley did not undergo surgery for the latest back injury. He said he has been at Rams Park "periodically" during his rehab and has been on the sideline during home games. He said he wants to return to the team as soon as possible.

"I left [Martz's] office and met with the GM to reconfirm my commitment to the team and my return to it at the earliest possible time," Turley said. "I am determined to return to the football field and contribute to the St. Louis Rams' winning season in 2005, joining the teammates I respect and the organization I admire."

Last year was Turley's first with the Rams, and he started all 16 games. The Rams acquired him from the Saints for a second-round pick in the 2004 draft.

Turley was a controversial player in New Orleans, known most for a helmet-tossing episode in 2001. Turley attacked Jets safety Damien Robinson when Robinson grabbed the face mask of Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks, ripping off Robinson's helmet and throwing it downfield.

He then made an obscene gesture that got him ejected. He also drew a 15-yard penalty that ended the Saints' final chance to tie or win the game. The Saints lost 16-9.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press