Rams ink veteran OL McCollum to extension

Twelve-year veteran offensive lineman Andy McCollum, a mainstay of the St. Louis Rams' blocking unit and one of the most durable players in recent team history, has signed a two-year contract extension.

Contract details were not yet available on the extension, which will take McCollum through the 2007 season, after which he likely will retire. McCollum was in the final year of his contract, with a base salary of $900,000, and would have become an unrestricted free agent next spring without the extension.

Even at age 35, Rams officials still view McCollum as a viable player, and probably a starter at center for the next two years. Extension talks have been ongoing for several weeks and a deal was struck over the weekend.

A former University of Toledo standout, McCollum has started at all three interior line positions, oftentimes depending on where the Rams' greatest need happened to be in a given season. Principally, however, McCollum has played center, and that is likely where he will stay for the rest of his career.

McCollum has appeared in 166 games and started 139 contests. He played all 16 games in each season since 1996, his third campaign in the league. On a St. Louis line that has been shuffled this season because of injuries and inconsistency, McCollum has started all 11 games at center.

He played one season in the Arena Football League before signing with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in 1994. After five seasons with the Saints, he moved to the Rams in 1999 as an unrestricted free agent.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click hereInsider.