Bulger Says He's Retiring; Taylor Now Second-String
TWO-TIME PRO BOWL SELECTEE; 11-YEAR CAREER
By Joe Platania
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
OWINGS MILLS -- The Ravens’ search for a backup quarterback just took on a lot more urgency.
Eleven-year NFL veteran and two-time Pro Bowl pick Marc Bulger has told a national website that he plans to retire from football.
"I am grateful to all my former teammates, coaches and my family," Bulger told ESPN.com on Wednesday morning. "I have a special place in my heart for (former St. Louis Rams coach Mike) Martz for giving me an opportunity.
"Moving forward, I'm excited to continue doing work through my foundation to help the men and women in uniform who risk their lives everyday so we can enjoy the game of football."
Bulger’s departure from the game means that Ravens sixth-round draft pick and ex-Virginia Tech starter Tyrod Taylor temporarily becomes the second-string quarterback even though the Ravens would prefer to have someone in that spot with NFL experience.
Taylor has had an impressive training camp, to the point where offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said, “He is special… I love the way we draft.”
The move leaves only six Ravens unrestricted free agents remaining from a list that originally numbered 18 players.
They are: wideout Derrick Mason, guard Tony Moll, receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, tackle Jared Gaither, fullback Le’Ron McClain and long snapper Kevin Houser.
As for the backup quarterback role, three of the top available signal-callers include former Washington starter Patrick Ramsey, ex-Cleveland and -Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, and a former Joe Flacco backup, Todd Bouman.
Even though Bulger played nine seasons with the Rams, he is familiar to local fans because of his playing days at West Virginia University, where he set 25 school records. He is the all-time leading Mountaineer passer with 8153 passing yards.
While with the Rams, Bulger made the Pro Bowl after the 2003 and 2006 seasons. In the latter campaign, Bulger posted a 92.9 passer rating with 24 touchdown passes and a miniscule eight interceptions.
For his career, Bulger threw for 122 touchdowns and was picked off 93 times.
Originally, Bulger was a sixth-round draft choice by the New Orleans Saints in 2000, but was waived and placed on the Rams’ practice squad on October 24 of that year.
Like Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino, Bulger was a Central Catholic High (Pittsburgh) graduate and was even more careful with the football.
In a streak that spanned the 2005 and 2006 seasons, Bulger threw 249 straight passes without an interception, the sixth-longest streak in league history.
When Bulger’s Rams days were done, he signed with Baltimore on July 13, 2010 to become Flacco’s latest in a series of backups. Flacco’s durability kept Bulger rooted to the bench, even though he made the second-highest base salary on the team ($3.8 million), trailing only Ray Lewis.