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Martz to Miss Rest of Season

October 25, 2005|From Associated Press

St. Louis Ram Coach Mike Martz will miss the rest of the season because of a bacterial infection of a heart valve that already has sidelined him for two games.

"This is very difficult for me to do," Martz said at a news conference Monday. "But I know it's the right thing to do."

Martz, who has one year left on his contract, expects to be back next season. He's 56-37 in his sixth season with the team; he took the Rams to one Super Bowl and was offensive coordinator when the team won the championship after the 1999 season.

"Absolutely," he said when asked whether he would return. "Why wouldn't I be? I love this place."

Team President John Shaw also said he expected Martz to return.

"Our No. 1 concern is his health," Shaw said. "He has a contract and we expect him to coach. We have not spent one second thinking about what happens next year. We have nine games left, and I hope we win our fair share."

Martz told the team Monday that after being examined and evaluated by his doctor, Victoria Fraser, his illness will prevent him from performing his duties. Fraser is co-chief of the division of infectious diseases at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Martz said he approached his two-week review with Fraser expecting to be cleared to return to coaching.

Instead, he was told he would have to stay away from football for at least four more weeks before being able to help in a limited capacity, and his best chance for a full recovery was to sit out the rest of the season.

"She laid it out pretty good this morning," said Martz, 54. "I was a little stunned."

Joe Vitt will continue as head coach for the rest of the year for the Rams (3-4).

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