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No Sympathy

by Steve Savard

KMOV.com

Posted on July 23, 2008 at 8:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 3:25 PM

I have zero sympathy for the suspended Claude Wroten or for the Rams.

First, let's say what is painfully obvious by now: it's more important to Claude to get high or to get drunk or do whatever got him supended than to play football. And that's okay. This is America. We are free to make choices even if they're self--destructive. But, we also have to live with our choices and Wroten should not be allowed to continue his career here in St. Louis.

Wroten has now tested positive for a banned substance three times. The second positive test brought a four game suspension in 2007. That should have been his formal wake up call. It wasn't. So now he's suspended one year without pay and the Rams are suddenly thin at defensive tackle. The day his suspension ends, the Rams should cut him loose if Scott Linehan is serious about drafting and signing guys with character. If he gets his act together and can build a career elsewhere, good for him. But he's shown no commitment to the Rams organization or his teammates. He's lost the right to play here.

But I don't feel sorry for the Rams either. There were all kinds of red flags attached to Wroten before the 2006 draft. And they reached anyway just as the team did a couple years before with Mike Martz as coach when they drafted Claude Terrell. There were plenty of reports about Wroten using marijuana while at LSU. But the Rams justified the pick by saying he had first round talent and was too good to pass up in round three. Excuse me, but I've never seen first round talent. Not even close. And even if his talent is legit, you run the risk of never seeing him fulfill his promise because of character flaws.

I will say this for the Rams--they've done a much better job of drafting guys with character and avoiding guys with off field issues the past two years. So maybe they learned their lesson from the Wroten pick. But now, that's a wasted third round pick as was the other third round pick that year---Dominique Byrd. And too many of those mistakes will kill a football team.

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