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Jackson apologizes for rant to teammates

ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson apologized to his St. Louis Rams teammates Wednesday for his sideline rant at the end of the team's second straight loss.

"I didn't want anything to get out of hand," the running back said. "I didn't know how guys took it, so I didn't want them to read something and then think what they're reading is true.

"I wanted to let them know from my heart and talk to them without being scripted, let them know how I felt and what happened and explain to them that there were no problems."

Jackson also reminded the team's patchwork offensive line that during a similar injury wave last year the Rams won four of their last six games.

"Steven brought up a great point," center Brett Romberg said. "There's no reason why we can't do the same thing."

The linemen said the criticism, which led to running backs coach Wayne Moses restraining Jackson from coach Scott Linehan, was something they did not take personally. They know they've got to do a better job of opening holes for the team's feature back, who has only 118 yards rushing and a 3-yard average, and a better job of protecting quarterback Marc Bulger, sacked six times in last week's 17-16 loss to the 49ers.

"The man was frustrated," Romberg said. "He has high expectations and he's an amazing competitor.

"But he came in this morning and apologized to everybody if it looked bad, and we said 'Forget about it, let's roll, we've got another game to play."'

Linehan said he didn't need any apology.

"This shows you how mature he is and what an accountable person he is," Linehan said. "He knows it's not productive to get cross with people, but that's what happens."

Jackson said he addressed the team because he wanted to make sure no one got any information second-hand, and also because he wanted to explain himself.

"I told them there wasn't going to be any division on this team and I just wanted to apologize if anyone took it the wrong way," Jackson said. "I'm pretty sure everyone is forgiving and we can move on."

The offensive line has had major early-season shuffling. Seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace had a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener, guard Richie Incognito likely will miss his third game with a high ankle sprain and Todd Steussie, the top backup at both guard and tackle, is out at least until midseason with a broken foot.

Alex Barron, the team's No. 1 draft pick in 2005, moved from right tackle to the left side last week.

"You do have to be more patient with what's going on," Jackson said. "Everyone sets goals and I'm aware enough to know that it's going to take some time around here."

Bulger was limited in his throwing Wednesday due to sore ribs and said he was "still pretty beat up.

"There are a lot of bruises everywhere," Bulger said. "The good thing is I think it's just mainly bruises."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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