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Rams to Hold Three Night Practices

August 2, 2002

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MACOMB, Ill. (AP) _ Dealing with a heat wave, the St. Louis Rams will hold three night practices under portable lighting next week.

It was 98 degrees midway through the team’s afternoon workout Thursday, although there were few heat-related woes. Defensive end Ryan Pickett left the field with about a half-hour to go in the two-hour practice.

The death of the Minnesota Vikings lineman Korey Stringer last year ``brought this to everybody’s attention,″ coach Mike Martz said. ``You can’t help but react to that. By the same token we’ve always tried to manage the heat as well as we can.″

The Rams haven’t cut any of their workouts short yet despite heat close to 100 degrees. But they’re monitoring them closely, giving players several water breaks.

``I just don’t believe in using the heat to try to make anybody tough,″ Martz said. ``We have to get acclimated to it and we have to be careful while you’re exposing them to being acclimated. Then you can put a little more on them in terms of their work load and the heat.″

The night practices will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Western Illinois University on one of the team’s three practice fields. Renovations to the school’s track ringing the football field necessitated the portable lighting. The track is bare asphalt now, with rubberized asphalt to be added at a later date, and the Rams were concerned that a player might be injured.

The lights were tested Wednesday night and two banks of 15 lights each more than handled the situation.

``I couldn’t see how two banks of lights would light up this field,″ Martz said. ``But it might be able to light up all of Macomb.″

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