News that one of the most significant players on your favorite NFL team has been released is some of the worst news a fan can possibly hear. Like last season when the Rams released Issac Bruce. That was pretty hard to swallow, and so is hearing that Torry Holt's 10-year tenure with the Rams is over, having been released.
How could this be, one of St. Louis' most beloved sports figures is no longer going to be seen in the blue and gold. Some believe making such a move is unthinkable, an unwise, foolish move. After all, he's done so much for the Rams and the city of St. Louis. In his rookie year, he was an integral part of the Rams' appearance in the 1999 Super Bowl, their first Super Bowl victory in decades. Let's not forget that Holt scored a touchdown that night. He may not have done as much as mega-star Issac Bruce that year, but second best is still good enough, having accumulated 52 receptions, 788 yards, and 6 touchdowns for the season, no doubt a big contribution to the team's lead over the entire rest of the league in passing touchdowns and total yards. He was the Rams' rookie of the year that season, as well he should have been.
Ever since that season, he has accummulated at least 1,000 yards until 2005, since injuries prevented him from doing the same in 2006. But no matter, he's still the only reciever in NFL history to accummulate 1,300 yards for 6 uninterrupted seasons. He has made 7 Pro Bowl appearances, in one of which he was a starter, and he is among the top 10 receivers in receiving yards and touchdowns. In 2000 and 2003, he led the league in receiving yards, and for receptions also in 2003. Also worth noting is that Holt holds the NFL record for consecutive 90+ receptions, 6 consecutive seasons to be exact.
Holt accomplished all of this while in a Rams uniform. His legacy as a St. Louis Ram is basically sealed.
As if that wasn't enough, after the 1999 season, he, along with brother and fellow NFL'er Terrence, began The Holt Foundation (in memory of their mother), supporting the fight against cancer. Also he is a spokesperson for the Diversity Awareness Partnership in St. Louis.
A player like Torry Holt will be hard to replace, if he can be at all. The future Hall-Of-Famer's now empty slot is waiting to be filled, possibly by the next big wide receiver for the Rams. If the Rams can get their hands on Michael Crabtree at the Draft, most fans wouldn't argue such a move. After all, he's considered a top prospect, especially at his position. With the possible exception of free agency, this is seen by many as the best way to make up for the loss of Torry Holt. Since the Rams will have the #2 draft pick, they better choose wisely. And choosing Crabtree would definitely be a wise move. I have heard nothing but good things from this young future star, and I believe he would be among the best ways to ease the pain of losing Holt.
Of course it won't ease the pain completely. This is a hurtful loss for the Rams. They are losing a significant piece of history, the likes of which may never be seen again by the Rams. The best thing we can do is wish Holt well, and hope that somehow, whether by way of the draft, free agency, or trades (primarily the draft), the Rams can make up for this loss. Longtime fans will be sour about this for years to come, including myself, especially considering future hall-of-fame tackle Orlando Pace was released also earlier in the week. Truly these are difficult losses to swallow. But in times like this, it's best not to dwell on the past, but to look to the future. Everything changes, but nothing really goes away, including strength at the wide receiver position. Sure there may never be another player like Holt, but we can still make the most of what we have now, or what we will have later on down the road.
Torry Holt will never be forgotten, and will forever be remembered by fans for years to come.
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