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Wednesday, November 20, 2002


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art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Now healthy, Hawaii alumnus Adrian Klemm is playing all over the offensive line for the Super Bowl champion Patriots.




Versatile Klemm
wants to earn
another ring

The oft-injured former UH
lineman is now healthy and
plays a lot for New England


By Nick Abramo
nabramo@starbulletin.com

Adrian Klemm has a Super Bowl championship ring.

For most football players, that's the ultimate symbol of accomplishment, but not for Klemm. He was injured during the New England Patriots' amazing run last year, watching from the sideline when his teammates subdued the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

"It's not the same," the former Hawaii tackle said in a phone interview. "I'm grateful to have it, but it would be so much sweeter if I was participating. I really wanted to get out there."

This year, Klemm is back from the injury and playing a lot in a utility role. He's been used at all four guard and tackle positions and played nearly the entire game several times.

In 2000, his rookie season, Klemm started the final four games for the Patriots after returning from a knee injury. He was slated to start in 2001, but sat out the whole season due to several injuries.

"It was unfortunate, because I was right there to step in as a starter," Klemm said. "But things happen for a reason and it gave me a chance to get a little bit stronger and become more of a well-rounded player."

Changing positions to fill in where he's needed wasn't easy at first for the 6-foot-3, 312-pound Klemm, but he's starting to catch on. He said moving from the left side to the right side of the line is like being left-handed and trying to write right-handed.

Klemm keeps tabs on his former Hawaii linemates in the NFL. Kynan Forney is a starter for the Atlanta Falcons and Kaulana Noa, who spent the last two seasons with the Rams, is with the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad.

"I talk to Kynan occasionally and I spoke with Kaulana before the Super Bowl," Klemm said. "We were roommates on the road in college. Who would have thought we would run into each other as members of the two opposing Super Bowl teams?

"And it's great to see how far Ashley (Lelie of the Denver Broncos) has come. I was leaving Hawaii when he was just coming into his own. It's a nice thing for our university."

Klemm will be forever thankful that June Jones came along to coach UH.

"It brought a lot of attention to our school, and I can't even begin to tell you how much he and (line) Coach (Mike) Cavanaugh have helped me," he said. "Coach Cav still gives me personal advice if he sees something I'm doing that he doesn't like."

The Patriots are striving to get back to the playoffs, and they bounced back from a four-game losing streak with two straight wins before Sunday's loss to Oakland.

"We're right in the hunt," Klemm said. "We've got to win games within our division. As long as we do that, we'll be in great position."

After being on a team that was "horrible for so many years," Klemm rates the 1999 Oahu Bowl victory over Oregon State as his biggest collegiate moment.

As a pro, hearing that John Madden spoke about him after a good pulling block in a Monday night game against Pittsburgh ranks up there as one of the biggest thrills.

"My little brothers and parents and friends told me about it and it was a big kick for them, too," he said.

Another Super Bowl ring -- without an injury to lessen its value -- would easily top that.



New England Patriots


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