Incognito explains his previous comments about Rams fans

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis guard Richie Incognito provided a "clarification" Friday on his earlier comments about Rams fans, where he said they aren't cheering on the team at home.

After practicing indoors at Rams Park, Incognito walked to his locker and began waving his arms and saying "come hither, come hither" to members of the media.

He wanted to discuss what he meant Thursday when he said this: "It seems like our fans aren't coming to the game, so it's fun when the other fans come in and start hooting and hollering, you know what I mean?

"At least someone in the dome is yelling. Our fans get in their seats and they don't know how to cheer, when to cheer. We get the other team's fans coming in, and they cheer real nice for us. It provides for a good football atmosphere having the Chicago fans down here."

The Rams host the Bears (5-5) at noon Sunday.

When Incognito made his statements, he acknowledged that the Rams aren't playing well. St. Louis is 2-8 overall and 1-3 at home this year after going 3-13 last season with only one home victory. That steep slide toward mediocrity has created apathy among the fan base.

However, the comments created an uproar around the city on talk radio and TV.

So, Incognito wanted to clear the air.

"Yesterday, I was not trying to take a shot at Rams fans," said Incognito, who will play Sunday after hurting his shoulder last week against San Francisco. "I fully understand that this team has not given a single St. Louis Rams fan a single thing to cheer about this season. I understand that.

"All I was trying to say is we got Chicago fans coming down and they get excited for their football team. That brings a football atmosphere here that gets me excited to play great football and go out there and get a win and get them quiet. We need all the support we can to get some wins around here."

While he did not issue an apology or a retraction, Incognito said: "I don't want to sound cliche, but I was taken the wrong way. I'm excited to play this game. I'll play my heart out, and I want as many Rams fans there as possible to enjoy it with us."

Receiver Torry Holt thought it best to avoid interpreting Incognito's statements.

"I really don't have a comment on that. What Richie said is what Richie said," Holt said. "But I will say this, and I've been saying it for years -- If you want the crowd to be involved, you want them to be excited, then we as a football team have to give them something to be excited about.

"That's all I'm going to say about that. I'm going to leave it at that."

Coach Jim Haslett said he spoke with Incognito to clear up the matter. "I don't think he means anything by it. He wants us to win the game. He wants the fans to be loud and support us. I think it would be bad to say it if we were 8-2. The fans support this team. I'd probably have a hard time coming out and watching us also, probably," he said.

Haslett said he would like for the issue to go away.

"It's been getting a little bit overblown," Haslett said.

"These fans are awesome. Haslett said he remembered coming to St. Louis as head coach of the New Orleans Saints when St. Louis fans created an imposing home atmosphere. "Obviously, we were coming in to play a good football team and we are struggling right now. But we need our fans.

"I know there are loyal fans out there that come to the games and support us. I know how hard it is to play here when we're playing well and the place is rocking."

Haslett said there's a trend in the NFL where teams in bigger markets that draw well come to road games and get tickets.

"That's just the way it is," Haslett said. "But I'm not worried about what's happening in the stands. I'm worried about what's happening on the field, and that's the most important thing to us."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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