Offensive tackle Bill Bain, facing an uncertain future with the Rams, has been granted his release by Coach John Robinson.
"I initiated it," Bain said Wednesday. "I went in there and asked him to release me."
"I feel like I need a new challenge," Bain said. "The challenge is there to be a starter again, and right now my fire is burning. But I feel my fire would burn a lot hotter if I had a chance to go to a new team (where) all I've got to do is prove myself to 50 new guys and 10 new coaches . . . where, me being so emotional, I could just put my head down and go and not worry about friendships and getting along with people."
Bain's 300-pound bulk belies a sensitive personality. He sat in the back of the room and wept when Jack Youngblood retired. When he received All-Pro recognition in 1984 he distributed engraved, personalized brass plates to the press and coaches "for helping me make All-Pro."
Wednesday he spoke of "how nice the team and Mrs. (Georgia) Frontiere have been to me."
But Bain will turn 34 on Aug. 9, and the Rams are moving toward phasing out their aging offensive line. They picked offensive linemen with their first two choices in the NFL draft last month.
Bain said that wasn't a consideration.
"I feel I've still got two years to play, if not three," he said.
He was assured by Robinson that if he didn't sign with another team the Rams would bring him to training camp. "But he would have to make the team," Robinson said.
Bain said: "I've always had to make the team. John was as nice as he could be to leave the door cracked open for me."
Bain was a second-round draft choice of Green Bay in 1975 after an All-American senior season at USC. He spent time with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants before joining the Rams in 1979. When Irv Pankey tore an Achilles' tendon the week before the opening game in 1983, Bain became the starter at left tackle.
Although regarded as a journeyman before that, Bain established himself during the '83 and '84 seasons as one of the best blockers in the NFL.
But in '85, bothered by nagging injuries, especially in his ankles, he was replaced by Pankey in midseason.
"The ankles were from the weight," Bain said. "After 33 years of being as big as I could be, I got caught. Structurally, I'm fine. I just had to take off some weight."
Bain's new sleek physique was a highlight of last week's mini-camp. How much did he weigh at his peak?
"I'm not saying," said Bain, who has refused to weigh for Ram trainers for the last couple of years.
Well, then, how much did he lose?
"I'm not saying that, either."
Bain, a native Californian who lives in Dana Point, said he wasn't very particular about his next employer.
"If I have to leave California to go play, that's fine. I just want a place where people will judge me for my playing ability and not my personality."
Ram Notes When Bill Bain does retire, perhaps he and Russ Bolinger will open a weight-loss clinic. Bolinger, a starting guard with the Lions and reserve lineman with the Rams, recently retired after a season spent healing a broken arm. He has lost about 50 pounds, down to 225, "just from eating the right things and not drinking as much beer," he said. . . . The Rams have had to move their first practice game against the Houston Oilers at Anaheim from Wednesday, Aug. 6, to Tuesday, Aug. 5 because of a new stipulation that they can't use the stadium less than 36 hours before an Angel game. The Angels are scheduled to play Seattle Aug. 7.