It wasn’t much of a surprise. The St. Louis Rams have released tackle Orlando Pace. (photo by Bill Greenblatt, UPI) It’s a move that will save the rebuilding Rams $6 million under their salary cap. The 33 year old has been banged up the last couple of years.
Pace, 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."
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.