Found April 04, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS Torry Holt walked through a doorway to applause, his career reaching an appropriate end. The former St. Louis Rams wide receiver chose to mark retirement where his journey began, and the reception began early. On Wednesday, a conference room filled with friends, family and former teammates greeted him at Rams Park to begin an announcement that capped his accomplished career. He signed a one-day contract with the team that selected him sixth overall in the 1999 NFL draft. He stood before supporters eager to return to the place where he became part of the "Greatest Show on Turf" offense that produced a Super Bowl title in the 1999 season. He spoke about growing in St. Louis and cherishing his role within a franchise that taught him the value of commitment and passion. "I'm excited, elated, to be standing here before you guys retiring as a member of the St. Louis Rams," Holt said. With those words, one of the most prolific wide receivers in Rams history had returned home. His arrival was delayed: Holt had not played in a regular-season game since appearing in 15 contests for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009. Before then, he had starred for 10 seasons in St. Louis, where he caught 869 passes for 12,660 yards and appeared in seven Pro Bowls. Early in the ceremony Wednesday, Holt leaned over a rail near the front of the room when a highlight video showcasing his time with the Rams played. He stared at two flatscreen televisions and scratched his chin. He watched a younger version of himself sprint past defenders. The moment marked time, but it also revealed the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Growing up, it was rare for the boy from Gibsonville, N.C., to be seen without a football or basketball. His early interest led to him becoming a standout prospect from Eastern Guilford (NC) High School, then a consensus All-American as a senior at North Carolina State, then one of the most versatile talents of his era as a professional. His path surprised even those closest to him. "Not really," Odell Shoffner, Holt's father, said when asked if he envisioned his son reaching this point. "But I'm glad it happened, because all the time I kept fussing to everybody that he had a ball in his hand. I'm elated that he's able to go out like this. We're always going to have the Rams in our hearts." Holt never lost love for the organization that gave him his first chance. It began on draft day in 1999, when then-St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil called Holt and said, "Do you want to be a Ram?" The year before, St. Louis had finished 4-12 its ninth consecutive season without making the playoffs. The Rams sought a promising downfield threat and made Holt the first wide receiver taken. Holt thought to himself, "Oh, shoot," in the moments after Vermeil's call. The Rams' checkered history worried him. They had won more than six games only once since 1989. Shortly after his arrival in the Gateway City, though, his doubts disappeared. "When I got here, and I saw the talent that was here, and I saw the men that were here, the professionals that were here, I knew I was somewhere special," Holt said. "I was able to grow here in St. Louis as a young man." He was able to grow on the field as well. At age 23, he started 15 regular-season games as a rookie and caught 52 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns. The next year, he began a streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,100 yards receiving. His best campaign came in 2003, when he had 117 catches for 1,696 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished with 13,382 yards receiving and 74 touchdowns for his career. Holt spoke Wednesday behind a podium with a Rams lapel pin fastened to the right collar of his blazer. Memories from his time on the field rushed back to him. He relived the Super Bowl XXXIV victory over the Tennessee Titans, the three catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in 2000, and the three triumphs over the Seattle Seahawks in 2004. He molded his professional identity in St. Louis and made the city his home. "Torry is like a little brother to me," said former Rams defensive tackle Ray Agnew, one of Holt's teammates. "It's awesome. He deserves everything he's gotten. The closeness, the camaraderie we had as a team no one was selfish. Everybody was unselfish. It was a close-knit group that we had. We were one. We were a team. That's what I remember the most." Holt keeps those memories close. As for himself, he wants to be remembered as a player who respected his teammates and coaches and challenged his peers. He pointed his right hand as he said, "I just wanted to be the best every day." Later, he waved both arms as he reminded former teammates that their Super Bowl title is "one thing that they can never take away from us." Holt's time in St. Louis will never be taken from him. After the ceremony, he chatted with audience members. He swapped stories. He posed for pictures and smiled. Eventually, Holt prepared to walk out the same doorway he arrived. He marked his retirement within the same walls where his career began. The destination felt right. "It's good," he said before leaving, "to be back."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Aaron Hernandez: The New NFL Athlete | ProFootballFocus.com

Aaron Hernandez: The New NFL Athlete | ProFootballFocus.com: The Patriots have devised ways of...

Patriots Mailbag: Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork Would Pack Middle of Order if Pats Fielded Baseball Team

It's never exciting when the NFL's most compelling storyline for much of the week has to do with fashion, but so it goes. Things can't be perfect all the time, and next week will surely be better. There isn't a ton to discuss for Friday's mailbag, at least relative to the last few jam-packed editions, but this one starts off with one of the most fun questions...

Jason Brown will visit the 49ers

According to Adam Caplan of TheSideLineView.com, free agent center Jason Brown is scheduled to visit the San Francisco 49ers this weekend. The 28 year-old Brown has played the past three seasons in St. Louis. Before then he started out his career with the Baltimore Ravens. Brown has been very durable, after he’s only missed two starts over the past five seasons.

Top 5 Dirtiest Players In The NFL

5. Cortland Finnegan, CB, St. Louis Rams Cortland Finnegan, who recently signed a massive five-year deal with the St. Louis Rams after becoming a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Tennessee Titans, would love to be called the NFL's dirtiest player (as he has once declared). Don't let his diminutive stature (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) fool you; he's one pesky, annoying man. Heck...

Vince Wilfork, Haloti Ngata Headline List of Top 64 Defensive Tackles on Bleacher Report's Top 1,000

The Patriots defense has only gotten older in recent years, but the veteran group was able to propel the team to a berth in the Super Bowl game last season. A huge reason for the success of the defense was the incredible play of defensive tackle Vince Wilfork throughout the playoffs. With a player like Wilfork, the Patriots were allowed flexibility throughout their playoff run. His...

Bobby Carpenter Joins Patriots After Two Stints With Bill Parcells' Teams

The Patriots took a flier Thursday on linebacker Bobby Carpenter, a highly touted prospect who has yet to pan out. Carpenter, a first-round draft pick from Ohio State in 2006, was selected by former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. Things never worked out in Dallas, but Parcells gave him another chance with the Dolphins in 2010, while he was running Miami's front office. Carpenter...

The new (?) NFL uniforms. (via New NFL uniforms unveiled; Welker...

The new (?) NFL uniforms. (via New NFL uniforms unveiled; Welker models Patriots version - Extra Points - Boston.com)

Patriots bolster linebacking corps, sign Bobby Carpenter

A six year veteran, Bobby Carpenter (6’2, 250) is a product of Ohio State and drafted in 2006 as the Dallas Cowboy first round pick (18th Overall). Carpenter spent three years in the Cowboys 3-4 but was considered a disappointment. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams for offensive lineman Aaron Barron. Carpenter gets a chance to resurrect his career in New England and could be...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.