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Rams' Vermeil To Stick Around

Hold off on that Dick Vermeil retirement talk.

The St. Louis Rams coach said Wednesday he would stay on the job indefinitely, backing off a statement earlier this week that he would likely quit after his five-year contract expires after the 2001 season.

Vermeil, who will be 63 Saturday, is known for saying what he feels at that moment. He said his only plan is to keep getting his unbeaten team ready to play.

"The retirement statement that was made was blown out of proportion," Vermeil said. "I hope I've put that to rest."

The Rams, at 6-0 the only undefeated team in the NFL, play at Tennessee (5-1) Sunday.

Vermeil totaled nine victories in the first two years of his coaching comeback. So before the season, he said people only wanted to know what he was going to do when he got fired.

"Now, they want to know what I'm going to do at the end of my contract," Vermeil said. "I have no plans other than to get this team ready to play.

"I know I have a five-year contract and I just hoped to make it through the five years. And if we're going well and everything's going well and they want me to stay, then that'll be a decision I'll have to make at that time."

Vermeil said he feels well physically.

"I feel strong other than having a cold," Vermeil said. "So there's no reason to think about getting out of here."

On Monday, Vermeil said he would have no problem walking away if the program was successful at the end of his contract.

"If the program is running good, I'll feel I've accomplished something," Vermeil told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But that's a long ways away from now. I've seen playoff coaches get fired the next year."

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