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Q&A: Retired St. Louis Rams WR Torry Holt talks about his NFL Career and the Holt Foundation – Part 1

On Wednesday, April 4, wide receiver Torry Holt signed a one-day contract with the St. Louis Rams and then immediately retired from the NFL. I caught up with him recently, and here is what Holt had to say about his Rams career, his Hall of Fame candidacy and the Holt Foundation.

What made it special for you to come back and retire in St. Louis as a Ram?

That’s where it all started. I was drafted by the Rams in 1999, and I played 10 years there. I had some of the 10 best years of my life in St. Louis. I went into St. Louis as a young man, and I came out as a man. I had the opportunity to fulfill my dreams athletically in a great sports town, with great coaches, and the guys on defense.

There were great players: Isaac [Bruce], Marshall [Faulk], Mike Jones, Adam Timmerman, Orlando Pace. The list goes on and on. Ricky Proehl – the list goes on and on. These are guys that I had an opportunity to share some great moments, particularly that Super Bowl team. Both those Super Bowl teams, even though we lost that one.

Aeneas Williams was there. Some of my former teammates were there. La’Roi Glover and Corey Chavous and those guys were in the building as well. It was just good to get back to a place where I enjoyed playing, where I enjoyed spending my time. I enjoyed going to work every day and being in the building, and having an opportunity to share that with some people that were there was – to share it with the city – it was awesome.

At some point you were hoping to re-sign with the Rams. What happened that prevented you from having that last opportunity to play for the club?

When I finished up in New England, I thought it was over with. Then I went and had surgery, and I kinda got a boost of confidence and said, “Hey maybe I go back out there one more year,” but nothing really came to fruition. Teams had their reservations on bringing me in, and I totally understood that, in regards to my knee, so nothing really happened.

So the year that it happened, I got on the phone with the Rams and said, “Hey, I would love to have an opportunity, if possible, if you guys would give me the opportunity to come back and retire with the Rams. If I can’t come back and play for the Rams, Carolina, or some of the other places that I want to play, is it possible that I can come back and retire as a Ram?” And they were all for it. It was good because I was able to get that finalized and put an end to that chapter in terms of what I did on the football field, particularly there in St. Louis.

Do you plan on being involved in the Rams organization in the future?

I do. I’d love to. I have plans to. During the lockout, I went up and worked out with a group of the guys. So I still have friends on the team, and I still know people within the organization. I’ve always cheered for them, and I’ve talked junk about them too. But you know, I’m a Ram. I’m a Ram for life, so I feel like I can do that.

I had an opportunity to talk to Les Snead, Kevin Demoff and Coach [Jeff] Fisher, and they welcome guys back with open arms. So my plans, hopefully during training camp this year, are to get back and just take a look at the team and a look at the guys and have an opportunity to be around and just talk and kinda give them some words of encouragement. And tell them what it takes to have success in the National Football League, particularly in St. Louis, since it’s been a long time since we’ve had a winner, so I think having a winning presence in the building will help guys. So yeah, I have plans to be around as long as they have me.

What is your best memory as a St. Louis Ram?

My best memory is when the [Tennessee] Titans brought the safety down on a safety blitz, and I ran that slant on [Dainon] Sidney. And he was cheated a little bit inside, so I wasn’t supposed to get inside. I still was able to get inside and catch that touchdown pass to put us ahead, to give us a little bit more of a margin of a lead in that game. And then to raise that ball up to my Mom, who was looking down on us from above. To be able to share that moment with her in the end zone and with my teammates. You’re talking about a young kid from North Carolina, and all I wanted to do was play ball and I dreamed of being a champion, so to be able to run across that goal line with that touchdown was awesome for a lot of different reasons.

What was the worst memory of your Rams career?

(Laughs) The worst memory was the last two years. I mean, we went on a stretch where we didn’t win any games. We may have won, what, two or three games? I don’t even know if we won two or three. That was a low point of my career because it was just frustrating to get up every day and go to work and still try to work at a high level, and you’re still trying to encourage the guys to keep pushing on and encourage yourself to keep pushing on.

To lose was just really tough because I came on early on, and all I knew was winning. I saw what it took to win. I heard what it took to win. We applied what it took to win, and those last couple years there without a lot of wins was just very frustrating.

What happened within the Rams organization to cause a Super Bowl contender to become what it has been in the past seven years?

I think after that Super Bowl loss, it was tough for all of us: the players, the coaches, and in management. Obviously, there were some changes in management, and there was talk about some power struggles there. That stuff is kinda well-documented, so that was the start of some things. Then in 2006-2007 when Coach Martz got real sick and things happened with him and the front office, things took a turn for the worse for our football and for the organization. Things kind if spiraled from there.

I think from a talent standpoint, we weren’t as talented as some of the teams in previous years, and from a management standpoint, I think they had their struggles and their battles, which I thought played a major role with what happened with our football team. It was just unfortunate that we went from being such a highly regarded, talented, athletic and winning team to an organization that was just not garnering any respect across the league.

You can follow Torry Holt on Twitter @BigGame81. If you’d like to know more about Torry and his brother Terrence’s foundation, check out their website or just head over to their Facebook page.

Derek Ciapala has been a Rams fan since he was a child and the team was in Los Angeles. His favorite Rams moments include Flipper Anderson’s 336-yard receiving night against the Saints in 1989, and their miracle 1999 run to their first Super Bowl victory. You can follow him on Twitter@dciapala.

(Originally published on Yahoo! Sports)

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