Though there is no guarantee that Marc Bulger will be back with the St. Louis Rams next season, team officials are downplaying a report that the quarterback cleaning out his locker could signal his departure.
Like most other players who cleaned out their stalls after the Rams' 1-15 season mercifully ended, Bulger left workout gear and other belongings, a team source said.
St. Louis sports writer and radio host Howard Balzer reported Tuesday that he had been told Bulger doesn't expect to be a Ram in 2010. However, a source told NFL.com that Bulger wouldn't mind coming back, although he'd also welcome a fresh start should the Rams opt to release him.
Bulger signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in 2007, and next season, he's due $8.5 million, which is a large amount for a quarterback who hasn't performed well or stayed healthy the past three seasons. He has passer ratings of 70.3, 71.4 and 70.7, respectively, in the last three seasons and missed 11 games because of injuries.
Bulger has thrown for 22,814 yards and 122 touchdowns with 93 interceptions during his nine-year NFL career. However, he hasn't posted a season with more TD passes than interceptions since 2006.
A few days before the Super Bowl, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo talked about Bulger's future with the team and left things wide open for interpretation.
"I'll support Marc to the end because I love the guy," Spagnuolo said. "He's a competitor and a good football player. Marc can still play some good football. We saw the ability of our other two quarterbacks (Kyle Boller, Keith Null), whether you consider that good or bad. Now we can sit down and evaluate."
Spagnuolo repeated those sentiments during a news conference Tuesday.
"I've said this before: I got a great deal of respect for Marc," the coach said. "I think he's a good football player. He's a competitor. I know he's grabbing me on the sidelines with suggestions all the time and it's not just quarterbacking play. I think a lot of Marc, as I did Kyle and certainly Keith getting in there playing a few games. I think that helps him, too, (and) helps us."
The Rams hold the No. 1 overall pick in the April draft and could select a quarterback. General manager Billy Devaney said the team is working through a lot of scenarios. The Rams also could be in the market to trade for a quarterback such as Philadelphia's Michael Vick or Washington's Jason Campbell.