Ram Coach John Robinson said he had a conversation with running back Barry Redden Thursday morning. It's not likely that the topic was how Redden has been spending his summer vacation.
Whatever was said resulted in Robinson's announcement that Redden will report to the Rams' training camp with the rest of the veterans July 26, ending--at least temporarily--speculation that Redden would be traded.
Trade rumors began to surface shortly after Redden was conspicuously absent during mini-camp in May. One of the purposes of the mini-camp was to begin implementing a new, two-back offense in which Redden would start. For a guy who has spent most of his professional career watching Eric Dickerson carry the ball (Redden has started only one game in four seasons with the Rams), this was supposed to be a big event.
Not long after Redden failed to show at the mini-camp, the Rams acquired veteran fullback Rob Carpenter from the New York Giants. And the rumors began that Redden was on his way out.
Thursday, however, Robinson said that Redden would not only report, but would be listed as the team's starting fullback from the first day of practice.
"He has one more year left on his contract and I think he has every intention of fulfilling it," Robinson said. "I have every confidence he can have a great season for us."
But if the right offer comes along . . .
Robinson said Redden's desire to be traded partially is a matter of geography, and that a trade sometime in the future has not been ruled out.
"Our conversations centered around a feeling of his--a long-range desire to live on the East Coast and be with his family," Robinson said. "He has expressed those feelings as being important to him and asked us, if we can, to help him relocate there.
"We will try to accommodate him if it can be worked out to where it's mutually beneficial."
Redden carried the ball 87 times for 380 yards--both career highs--in 1985, and figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Robinson's new offensive scheme. Starting alongside Dickerson is a considerable step from being listed behind him on the depth chart.
"We've expressed to him that we intend to use two backs this year and that he would be--or rather the fullback position would be--an important part of what we do," Robinson said.
Robinson was asked if the Rams ever were close to making a deal involving Redden: "I don't have any comment on that at all," he said.
Shortly after the announcement regarding Redden, Robinson said the Rams were making progress in contract talks with quarterback Hugh Millen, the team's third-round draft choice.
"I think we're very close," he said. "We could see him very soon."
About two hours later, Millen was in uniform for the Rams' afternoon workout, joining veteran Steve Dils as the only healthy quarterbacks in camp so far. Brock was present for the opening of camp Monday, but suffered back pains and hasn't suited up since.
Millen agreed to terms Thursday, becoming the first of the Rams' top three draft choices to sign. The former University of Washington quarterback was hesitant to make any predictions about his chances of earning a spot on the roster.
"If I come out on Wednesday, and I'm better than I was on Tuesday, that's what I'm looking for," he said. "And that's really all I can be thinking about at this point."
Ram Notes First-round draft choice Mike Schad, the Rams' Canadian import offensive lineman, and second pick Tom Newberry, a guard from Wisconsin-LaCrosse who reportedly is considering a boxing career, remain unsigned. Linebacker Garrett Breeland, a 10th-round selection out of USC, signed Thursday. Breeland attended Sunny Hills High School and Fullerton College before going to USC. . . . The Rams' July 31 scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers has been moved from Cal State Fullerton to Anaheim Stadium. The 90-minute practice session will consist of a seven-on-seven passing drill followed by an 11-on-11 scrimmage. Admission is free. . . . The Rams and Chargers will hold a similar scrimmage Thursday in San Diego. . . . Fullback Rob Carpenter is expected to take a physical examination next Monday and attend his first Ram practice Tuesday. . . . Veteran quarterback Steve Bartkowski, linebacker Mark Jerue and cornerback Jerry Gray are expected to report to camp next Monday, when the team begins two-a-day workouts at Cal State Fullerton.