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Kemp Back to Face Rams; Owens Back to Join Them

August 19, 1986|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

Two familiar faces returned to Anaheim Stadium Monday night, but neither wore a Ram uniform.

Jeff Kemp came back in the colors of the San Francisco 49ers, and Mel Owens showed up with a suntan after ending his holdout over the weekend.

Owens figures he'll be able to play his left outside linebacker position against the San Diego Chargers Saturday night.

"I just have to get into some hitting shape," he said. "One good hit from (tight end) David Hill and I'll be ready."

Kemp, frustrated in the Rams' offense for five years, even when he started most of the 1984 season, is now the 49er backup behind Joe Montana. Montana's sprained ankle allowed Kemp to play the first half of the National Football League tuneup, which was won by the Rams, 31-17.

"We didn't play well," said Kemp, who completed 15 of 27 passes for 157 yards but produced only 10 points.

"Sure, I would have liked to (have played better), but I was telling myself not to try to. I was pretty keyed up before the game. My worst mistake was the interception (by linebacker Mark Jerue) that (Ram quarterback Steve) Bartkowski turned into a touchdown."

The Rams have put a new, wide-open look into their passing game since Kemp last saw it.

"It looked good," Kemp said as he left the field. "They put in some new stuff."

He visited with former teammate Steve Dils at midfield after the game and seemed about to follow Dils into the Rams' dressing room at the north end of the stadium until Dils pointed the other way. Then Kemp separated himself from a reporter and television crew.

"I better get into the locker room," he said. "I don't want to look like I'm separating myself from the team."

Owens, who spent the off-season touring Australia, New Zealand and the South Seas, said he didn't expect to lose his job to second-year pro Kevin Greene, who has been playing well.

"I've played six years in the league," Owens said. "I've earned my right. I play that consistent game. I don't get knocked off my feet. I've already proven myself. I don't worry about things like that."

The Rams need to reduce their roster by 19 players to 60 today. Those they'll probably place on injured reserve include defensive backs Gary Green and Eric Harris and rookie quarterback Hugh Millen.

Reserve safety Mike Fox, picked up from the United States Football League, was not in uniform for the game, so he retained his exemption through the preseason, and wide receiver Henry Ellard, the last holdout, won't be counted until he reports.

About a dozen players probably will get the ax, but some of them will have gone down fighting.

Among the marginal players:

Nose tackle Chris Pacheco, a free agent from Fresno State, sacked 49er quarterback Mike Moroski on successive plays in the fourth quarter to smother a 49er threat.

Tight end Darren Long, from Long Beach State via the USFL's Los Angeles Express, made a nice catch of a pass from Steve Dils for an 18-yard gain that led to the Rams' last touchdown.

Cornerback Mickey Sutton had his hands full with Moroski's passing in the second half but returned a punt for 19 yards in the first half. He is the premier punt returner in camp until Ellard arrives.

Alvin Wright, a 285-pound nose tackle, is listed third on the depth chart but stuffed a run by the 49ers' Tom Rathman at the 3-yard line for no gain in the third quarter, although Moroski scored two plays later.

However, it did not look good for placekicker Steve Jordan. He not only kicked off short twice, to the 17- and 12-yard lines, but watched his chances fade when incumbent Mike Lansford drilled a 50-yard field goal.

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