Turley wants to bring his intensity to DE position
Turley wants to bring his intensity to DE position
Posted: Friday June 10, 2005 1:25PM; Updated: Friday June 10, 2005 3:29PM
Kyle Turley, a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman, hopes to switch to defensive end, although he is currently not on a team.
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He was on his way to a gig, getting jacked up for a couple hours of shirtless skins-slapping -- and when you are the drummer for a band named Perpetual Death Mode, your biceps had best be prepared to do some serious throbbing.
"Oh, I'm gonna pound those things," Kyle Turley said in his typical, subtlety-deprived tone. "Our music is super heavy, super hard and super fast. It's bad-ass, man. And yeah, I've gotta take the shirt off, so I can show off my f---- abs."
Turley has been part of this death-metal-thrash quartet for several weeks now, and in case you're working up the courage to tell this long-haired, heavily tattooed rhythm-keeper to keep his day job, don't bother: Turley officially lost it on Monday, when the St. Louis Rams waived the former All-Pro tackle after he failed a physical.
Still ailing from the serious back injury that kept him out for all of the 2004 season, the 6-foot-5 Turley at one point shrunk down to 235 pounds during rehab, a process he says is still three to six months away from completion. He has since bulked up to 260 ("I've put on 30 pounds of solid muscle," he said) -- 50 pounds short of his listed weight going into '04, but buff enough to allow him to switch to defensive end, which would be quite a dramatic move for the soon-to-be-30-year-old.
"With my intensity and athletic ability, I think that would be a natural switch," Turley said in a phone interview on Thursday night. "I'm just as fast as almost all those [defensive ends] out there, and as athletic, or more, than half of them. And my tenacity supersedes all of that. There are a lot of guys at that position who have gotten paid that are a bunch of slaps, and I know I could do better than them."
If Turley seems a tad disdainful of his would-be peers, some back story is in order. As part of a 2003 Sports Illustrated package on offensive linemen -- for which he was the cover subject -- Turley told Josh Elliott he regarded his defensive-line counterparts as unintelligent drones, referring to them as "geraniums."
Now that he's intent on a switch, Turley is all about flower power.
"Because I played offensive line, I think that gives me an insider's advantage," he explained. "Believe me, I know what's happening on the other side of the football, and that should allow me to read and react in a way that the typical defensive lineman can't. I know what I would bring to that position, and a lot of coaches know, too."
What Turley would bring, first and foremost, is attitude -- which is why, despite his physical issues and purported baggage, I expect some NFL team to give him a chance. This is likely to happen next offseason, when he hopes to be fully healed, though he'd listen if a team expressed interest in signing him sooner.
In the meantime, he is spending most of his time in Arizona, where he works out five times a week, virtually all day, at the Athletes' Performance Institute, a high-tech conditioning center on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. In addition to his drumming exploits, Turley, who did several stints as a guest host for Fox's Best Damn Sports Show last fall, is expanding his entertainment horizons. He's about to head to Northern California to star in a horror flick, Seventy Five, that he hopes will be released in time for Halloween.
"It's a terror/thriller," he said, "and I'm the terror."
That, of course, was the way he was portrayed by his former coach, Mike Martz, late last year. Martz reportedly called NFL security on Turley after a contentious meeting in the Rams' coach's office, one in which Turley says Martz accused him of faking his back injury and "stealing money," alleging that the player had threatened him. Turley, who'd had offseason back surgery to repair a herniated disk, re-aggravated the injury early in '04 training camp and blamed Martz for not allowing him to ease his way back into playing shape.
Turley, who signed a six-year, $26.5 million deal with St. Louis after he was acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in 2003, said he understands why Rams management elected to cut him, though he wished they'd given him more time to demonstrate his physical progress. "I understand that move, that there's a business side," he said. "I have no ill feelings towards Rams management."
He was far less forgiving of Martz, whom he believes was the man most responsible for his release. "I know that guy's intentions," Turley said. "I know what his motives are. Whatever face he wants to put on for the media, I think anybody can see right through that. I know he had just as much ill intent to get rid of me as he did for Kurt Warner. He wanted to get rid of Kurt because Kurt was on his s--- list. I guess I got on the list, too, by 'faking a back injury' and 'taking the money and running.'
"When I played for them [in '03], I did my job. It wasn't my fault we didn't go for a f--- touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs with 45 seconds left [in regulation]. We could've gone to the f--- Super Bowl, but we kicked a field goal and lost ... He can live in that dream world where he can do no wrong, but one day it's going to come back to bite him in the ass."
Martz, through a team spokesperson, responded: "Kyle played very well for us in 2003. I'm sorry his back injury has kept him from continuing his career with the Rams. I wish him the best of luck." (John Hadley, the Rams' director of research and statistical analysis, added: "I have a very good personal relationship with Kyle, but facts are facts. The fact is there were 17 minutes left in that playoff game (via overtime) and they had ample opportunity to win. And the fact is Mike has taken the Rams to the promised land twice, once as an offensive coordinator and once as the head coach.")
Turley can envision a delicious circumstance in which, as an opposing defensive end, he bursts off the corner and makes the sack that ends the Rams' season. "I'd take it easy on the quarterback, because Marc Bulger's a great guy," Turley said. "But that'd be a beautiful scenario. I hope all the talented players they have there get themselves another coach, because that dream world that Mike Martz lives in is keeping them from reaching the promised land."
In the meantime, if you want to see Turley let out some of his aggression -- well, there's always the next Perpetual Death Mode gig.
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