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Ram Notebook : Brock Benched by 'Nagging' Bad Back

July 16, 1986|JOHN WEYLER | Times Staff Writer

Ram quarterback Dieter Brock, who threw passes to rookies and free agents for a couple of hours on the opening day of training camp Monday, woke up Tuesday morning with a sore back.

Brock, who was hampered by a sore back off-and-on last year and received several injections during the season, probably will visit a back specialist in the next couple of days, according to Coach John Robinson.

"He's going to stop all activity," Robinson said. "I would put it in the category of 'nagging.' He might be out a whole week or maybe just a day or two. We want to make sure.

"With backs, sometimes it's difficult to find the problem. We want to really spend some time to make sure there's nothing wrong."

Brock said he didn't know the extent of the problem and that Monday was the target date for his return.

"It's painful," he said. "I need a rest. I've always had some tightness. It's just something I'll always have to deal with. It's not something you can cure."

Brock's absence, coupled with the fact that rookie quarterback Hugh Millen has yet to sign a contract, means Steve Bartkowski, who was not scheduled to join the team until next week, will have to come in and relieve Steve Dils during practices.

Robinson, of course, is hoping Millen will sign and end his quarterback worries . . . at least until the season begins.

Mike Blatt, agent for Ram wide receiver Henry Ellard, said Monday if St. Louis running back Stump Mitchell rejected a three-year, $1.5-million contract from the Arizona Outlaws of the USFL, Ellard would be offered a similar deal.

Tuesday morning, Mitchell re-signed with the Cardinals, but Blatt, reached by phone in his Stockton office, said he had not heard from the Outlaws.

"We haven't talked in the last couple of days, but they told me if I was having a bad time with the Rams to come in and see what we could do," Blatt said. "About half of the compensation in the deal they're offering is in Fresno real estate, which is what Henry is looking for. That's like cash to him."

Ellard, who starred at Fresno State and lives in Fresno, has become one of the game's premier pass-catchers after three seasons in the NFL.

Lew Erber, the Ram receivers coach, said he would hate to see Ellard get away.

"You know how I feel about Henry," he said. "He's something special, one of those athletes you only get to coach once in a while. It's all ahead of him.

"But don't tell any of that to Jay (Zygmunt, the Ram executive in charge of negotiating player contracts)."

Ram Notes

Cleveland linebacker Chip Banks, who played for Coach John Robinson at USC, continues to demand either a $500,000 pay raise or a trade to the Rams. He's even working out specific trade scenarios. But if the Rams manage to sign veteran linebackers Jim Collins and Mel Owens, the trade wouldn't make a lot of sense from the Rams' standpoint. "It certainly wouldn't seem to be a natural," Robinson said. "The thing I don't want to do is comment in any way to add fuel to the fire." . . . The Rams signed eighth-round draft pick Steve Jarecki, a 6-2, 217-pound inside linebacker from UCLA. Seven of their 11 draft picks still haven't signed, though.

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