August 4, 2015

Rams coach shares his vacation story of saving a man from drowning in the Pacific Ocean (AUDIO)

Rams special teams coach John Fassel

Rams special teams coach John Fassel

The Rams used their fourth practice of training camp on Monday to focus on specials teams.  After practice the media was more focused on hearing the summer vacation story from special teams coach John Fassel than they were about the players.

Fassel vacationed with his wife and two kids in Southern California for three weeks after the team broke from OTAs.  On the final day of his vacation, Fassel decided to take out his boogie board and enjoy some big waves.  Turns out, Fassel helped save of a man’s life off the shore of Manhattan Beach.

He noticed a man caught in a riptide, struggling and gasping for air. He and a surfer swam over to the man and put him on top of a surfboard and kicked out of the riptide and brought the man safely to shore where several paramedics awaited.  Paramedics worked on the man for close to an hour before taking him away in an ambulance.  Fassel said the man did not speak English so there was no way to communicate during the rescue and he has not had any contact with the man since.

Listen to Fassel as he tells his story.

Judge rules approval from city voters is not necessary to use city tax money for St. Louis NFL stadium

A view of the seating arrangements from inside the proposed stadium.

A view of the seating arrangements from inside the proposed stadium.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley ruled that the law from 2002 was confusing and therefore voided a city ordinance that required voter approval for the use of tax dollars for any project involving a professional sports facility.  The members of Governor Jay Nixon’s stadium task force call it a major victory for the city, while one law professor calls it a “terrible day.”

Judge Frawley ruled that the new stadium plan on St. Louis’ north riverfront does not break a state law requiring it to be “adjacent” to the city’s convention center.  Frawley ruled that Missouri courts have determined that “adjacent” simply means nearby.

Dave Peacock, the former Anheuser-Busch executive who is part of a Nixon’s two-person stadium task force released a statement calling it a victory.

“As we continue to make excellent progress on the stadium project, this is a great time for everyone in the St. Louis region to rally on behalf of something that will make a difference in our economy, national profile and quality of life for generations to come,” Peacock said.

However, not all see it as such.  John Ammann, a law professor at Saint Louis University, who filed a separate suit that sought a city vote on the stadium plan, called it a defeat for democracy.

“The voters and taxpayers now have no formal voice in whether they will pay for a new stadium, or how much,” Ammann said.

The ruling comes ahead of an August 11th meeting when the St. Louis task force will meet with NFL officials in Chicago. With the Rams, along with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, seeking moves to Los Angeles, the league could make a decision soon.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning a new stadium in Inglewood, a suburb of Los Angeles, with the possibility the team will move back to Southern California, as early as 2016.

Fall practices for Missouri high school athletes start today. Why 14 practices are required before athletes can play (VIDEO)

Today is the first day of high school fall sports practices. Students are required by MSHSAA to get in 14 scheduled practices before they are eligible to play in a game.  Jason West, Communications Director, explains why this is done in the name of fairness along with safety and health.

Not only are the student-athletes getting ready for the season, but this summer over 600 officials met in St. Louis for “Officiate Missouri Day.” Coming up this weekend at Camdenton High School, MSHSAA is hosting a Sportmanship Summit for students and coaches.

Here is the brochure and more information on registration.

E.J. Gaines gets stepped on but walks off under his own power at Rams practice on Sunday

St. Louis Rams E.J. Gaines upends Arizona Cardinals Jaron Brown in the first quarter at the Edward Jones in St. Louis on December 11, 2014.    UPI/Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis Rams E.J. Gaines upends Arizona Cardinals Jaron Brown in the first quarter at the Edward Jones in St. Louis on December 11, 2014. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Cornerback E.J. Gaines was stepped on early into Sunday evening’s practice and hurt his knee, forcing him to miss the rest of practice.  It has already been a slow start to his second season in the NFL for the former Missouri Tigers and Independence, Mo. native.

Gaines missed OTA’s in June with a back injury that happened at the end of last season.  Gaines made 15 starts in place of last season’s projected starter Trumaine Johnson.  Gaines and Johnson were set for a big position battle this summer, but now the health of Gaines could be a major question.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said things looked positive that this would not be a long term injury for Gaines.

“Going to have to do some tests. He got stepped on, which is encouraging as opposed to other things. We’ll find out. Right now, they’re not too concerned. He’s very sore, but that typically can happen when you get stepped on.”

Gaines finished with 105 tackles, two interceptions and a team-high 14 pass breakups.  Considered a steal as a sixth round draft pick, Gaines can’t afford to lose anymore time with Johnson coming into camp healthy.  At 6-2, 208, Johnson has 20 starts in three seasons with the Rams and has used his size to make big plays.  He has eight career interceptions and could cut into Gaines’ playing time this season.

One of the more unique ways to announce your college plans. Rockhurst wide receiver uses a monopoly board to select Wisconsin

A.J. Taylor poses with his monopoly board. Photo from Randy Withers. Give him a follow on Twitter

A.J. Taylor poses with his monopoly board. Photo from Randy Withers. Give him a follow on Twitter

Rockhurst High School athlete A.J. Taylor gets an A+ for creativity.  To help illustrate his decision to choose to play college ball for the Wisconsin Badgers, he used his own version of a Monopoly board to make his announcement.

Taylor is 5-11, 190-pounds and played a variety of positions for the Hawklets last season.  The top-rated high school player in the state of Missouri plays cornerback, running back and wide receiver for Rockhurst. He had more than a dozen D-I offers, including Mizzou, Kansas and K-State.

Taylor racked up more than 1,600 all-purpose yards with 16 touchdowns last season during his junior year, as Rockhurst made it to the Show-Me-Bowl and finished runner up the Class 6 finals.