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Martz says Warner is still his guy

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rams coach Mike Martz didn't need a competition to determine his starting quarterback for 2003. All he needed was Kurt Warner's medical chart.

Martz said Saturday that Warner will start ahead of Marc Bulger.

"It was such a highly visible situation, and it involved such a tremendous player, and it was a good story," Martz said. "But obviously, there wasn't much of a decision."

Martz's announcement eliminates what could have turned into a training-camp battle between Warner, a two-time MVP, and Bulger, who was impressive while replacing the injured Warner last season. Warner went 0-6 as the Rams' starter.

Adding to the intrigue, Warner was coming off two injuries to his throwing hand, and the team also suspected he might have rotator cuff damage.

Bulger was 6-1 as the starter and had one of the league's top quarterback ratings.

Although Martz indicated the choice was a no-brainer, he left himself an escape clause.

"If Kurt fails to perform at the level he expects -- or we expect -- over a period of time, then we'll have to make a change," he said. "But I don't really think that will happen."

COLTS: Coach Tony Dungy hasn't said much publicly about the Peyton Manning-Mike Vanderjagt feud, but Dungy gave a rare glimpse into his thoughts after Vanderjagt said Manning needed to show more emotion and Dungy was too nice to be effective.

"I didn't think it would fester, because we were weren't going to let it fester," Dungy said.

When asked whether he considered releasing Vanderjagt, the NFL's most accurate kicker, Dungy responded: "That thought did go through my mind. I wondered if we should dump this guy."

Dungy also was watching the Pro Bowl when Manning responded in an ABC interview by calling Vanderjagt an "idiot kicker."

Did Dungy also consider releasing Manning? "No," he said, drawing laughter from the media.

RAVENS: General manager Ozzie Newsome said the team would have interest in signing former Cleveland offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Brown was hurt on Dec. 19, 1999 when referee Jeff Triplette threw his penalty flag and it hit Brown's right eye. Brown went to the sideline, then came back on the field and pushed Triplette to the ground. Cleveland cut Brown in September 2000 and he has not played since the freak injury.

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