Chandler gets deal for 3 years from Rams
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Chris Chandler is sacked by Adam Archuleta during a Rams/Bears games.
(JB Forbes /P-D)
In 1995, the Los Angeles Rams decided to bring quarterback Chris Miller with them to St. Louis instead of Chris Chandler. Nine years later, Chandler is finally coming to St. Louis.
Chandler, who was released by the Chicago Bears on Friday, has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Rams. Contract terms weren't immediately available.
Let the speculation began as to what this means to Marc Bulger, Kurt Warner and the overall Rams quarterback situation.
"It just strengthens the position," coach Mike Martz said Monday. "Obviously, we're not bringing Scott Covington back. So Chris is one of our three quarterbacks. He's not coming in here to compete as a starter. He's coming in here in a backup capacity. He understands that."
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In 1994, the Rams' last season in California, Martz was the team's quarterback coach, so he obviously worked closely with Chandler. Chandler played in 12 games that year with six starts. He completed 61.4 percent of his attempts that season (108 for 176) with a passer rating of 93.8. Other than his 1997 and '98 Pro Bowl seasons in Atlanta, when Chandler was at the height of his skills, it was the highest passer rating of his 16-year NFL career.
After that '94 season, Chandler went to the Houston Oilers as an unrestricted free agent. Miller came to the Rams but didn't make it through the '95 season because of a series of concussions. A few years later, when Chandler was leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl, some observers wondered if the Rams had kept the wrong Chris.
"His experience is invaluable," Martz said. "He's been in the Super Bowl. He knows how to win. He's a real good fit for what we're looking for right now."
At age 38, Chandler has his best football behind him. He hasn't been a full-time starter since 2001, his final season in Atlanta. Last season with the Bears, he started six times, including Chicago's 23-21 loss to the Rams Nov. 16 at Soldier Field. For the season, he completed 55.7 percent of his passes (107 for 192), with three touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a 61.3 passer rating.
Whether it's as the Rams' No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback, Chandler still has something to offer, Martz believes.
"He's very intelligent," Martz said. "He's the one guy who can come in here as a veteran and know exactly what we're doing within a very short period of time. He's very accurate, and he's got good presence in the huddle."