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Rams to Give Backup Quarterback a Novel Opportunity : Football: Martin, a sportswriter in college, will trade in his usual spot on sideline for some action against Packers.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jamie Martin, the former sportswriter, should have to write this story.

Why me? Why punish the innocent?

Jamie Martin, the former sportswriter for the Weber State Signpost, should know what a good interview is all about: witty quotes, funny asides, penetrating perspective and the story writes itself.

But no, Jamie Martin, the quarterback for the Rams, delivers dull quotes, yes and no answers, diplomatic gobbleygook and his story stinks.

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The Rams won’t risk Chris Miller’s health in Saturday’s exhibition opener with Green Bay and T.J. Rubley has a sore arm, so for the first time since joining the Rams more than a year ago, Martin is expected to play in an NFL game.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Martin said, and now I lay me down to sleep . . .

Certainly your parents, your friends--they must really be excited.

“Haven’t told them,” Martin said.

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Hello, anyone home?

“That’s my temperament,” he said. “I don’t like to get people too excited.”

Sorry, the voice-activated tape recorder is having trouble picking you up.

“I am pretty monotone, I guess,” he droned. “I’m not here to put on a show or anything. I’m just not flashy. I’m like that cliche, I guess, ‘Just do my best and work hard.’ ”

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Hold Page 1: Come on, you don’t get drafted, you don’t do much but eat free lunches and stand around at practice with helmet in hand last season, and now the Rams are giving you an opportunity to play, to impress.

Take his word, he said, “I’m excited.”

A year ago Martin put on a uniform for the Rams’ four exhibition games after former quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner spotted him playing at Weber State. Martin, however, went to the showers each week without ever making it onto the field.

After working as a practice player for the team during the first part of the regular season, he finished the year on the roster and on the sideline holding a clipboard.

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“I was employed,” he said.

This year he’s challenging Rubley for the opportunity to back up Miller and Chris Chandler. The coaches said they were impressed with his off-season work and there has been speculation that he will beat out Rubley.

“I just came in to do my best,” he said. “If I do my best, I’ll be OK.”

Yes, the guy talks like Chuck Knox.

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“How ever it works out,” Martin said, “it works out.”

But this week has been special, right? More practice time because of the injuries to Miller and Rubley than all of last season combined. How’s life changed for you now that they allow you in the huddle?

“It hasn’t,” he said before expanding on his answer, “not at all.”

Obviously the Rams’ public relations department wanted no part of talking with Martin--it failed to make any mention of him in its preseason media publication. But try and write a story with no good quotes and no biographical data.

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“Let’s see, there’s a lot I can tell you about Jamie,” said Brad Larsen, sports information director at Weber State. “He’s the all-time leading passer in Big Sky Conference history. All-time. He was awarded the Walter Payton Trophy as Division I-AA player of the year in 1991. Threw 93 touchdowns during his career. Set an NCAA single-game record with 624 passing yards and 47 completions.

“He also wrote for the school’s newspaper, and was pretty decent.”

Jamie Martin? The very same boring Jamie Martin? This guy had to interview people, knows what it is like to have to write a story with nothing to write and now he gives interviews designed to shut down the newspaper industry?

“You should have seen him before he came out of his shell,” Larsen said.

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You think he’s ready for David Letterman?

“He’s a sports information director’s delight,” Larsen said. “I mean he’s not one of those rah-rah guys, but when you get him on the field, boy, people listen to him.”

He’s going to have a chance to be on the field Saturday, and then there will be those postgame interviews in the locker room.

Can’t wait.

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