Busily preparing for the season, the Rams spent Tuesday wheeling and dealing, trading two draft choices to the Denver Broncos for inside linebacker Steve Busick, and announcing that quarterback Dieter Brock would be put on injured reserve.
Those were the biggest moves of the day but not the only ones.
The Rams, as expected, recalled receiver Chuck Scott and linebacker Jim Laughlin but lost linebacker Ed Brady, who was claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brady's spot on the roster will be filled by Busick, a six-year veteran from USC and the Broncos' leading tackler the last two seasons.
The Rams, surprisingly, gave up little for Busick, promising Denver their 11th-round pick in the 1987 draft and a 7th-round choice in 1988.
With former Pro Bowl player Jim Collins out at least until October with a nerve injury in his shoulder, the Rams desperately needed help at inside linebacker.
As it turned out, the Broncos were desperately trying to unload Busick, who has started 44 consecutive games for Denver.
He became expendable when it became clear that the Broncos were going to replace him at right inside linebacker with Ricky Hunley, a third-year player with great promise and a great contract.
"I have mixed emotions," Busick said of the trade by phone from Colorado. "There were a lot of rumors about a trade in preseason. At the same time, I was shocked because my position was never taken from me. I was never beaten out."
Denver owner Pat Bowlen said publicly last spring that it was time to find out whether Hunley could play. Hunley received a $1.7-million signing bonus from the Broncos, who traded first-, third- and fifth-round choices to Cincinnati for Hunley in the middle of the 1984 season.
Busick, 27, said that because he was an overachiever, the Broncos could part with him. "I was an underdog, a seventh-round draft choice. They could afford to get rid of me."
It is believed that the Broncos originally wanted a second- or third-round choice for Busick but lowered the price considerably when no other teams seemed interested.
When the stakes came down, the Rams jumped at the chance.
Busick said that he can start for the Rams, although Coach John Robinson said that Busick would join the team as a backup to both Carl Ekern and Collins' replacement, Mark Jerue.
Busick was one of the NFL's leading tacklers in 1984 with 195 and led Bronco linebackers last season with 81. He played for Robinson at USC and said he would have no problem picking up the system.
"In fact, I ran the Rams' defense on the scout team last week," said Busick, who just saw the Rams in last Friday night's exhibition game in Denver. "Up here, we ran every defensive front known to football. Nothing's more complicated than our defense. So I can't see it being more difficult."
The trade for Busick overshadowed Brock's move to injured reserve, which could be interpreted one of several ways.
Though Brock was expected to miss only the first week of the season with his knee injury, he now must sit out the first four games.
That, of course, clears up any possible quarterback controversy, for the time being.
Robinson, though, assured all that the move was not designed to phase Brock out of the picture.
"We just felt it would be another week before he could practice," Robinson said. "But we'll get him back in action and he won't fade into oblivion at all."
Brock, the Rams' starting quarterback last season, injured his left knee in an exhibition game against Houston on Aug. 5 and had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 12.
The injury ended what fight there was between Brock and Steve Bartkowski, who is now, without question, the No. 1 quarterback.
Brock said he wasn't bitter about the decision and agreed that the move was probably for the best.
"The injury wasn't convenient for me," Brock said. "But it certainly was for Coach Robinson. It was just one of those things that happened. I accept it. But it throws things out of whack as far as I'm concerned. But there's nothing I can do."
Ram Notes Besides Dieter Brock, the Rams also put defensive lineman Alvin Wright and tight end Damone Johnson on the injured reserve list. Wright has a knee injury and Johnson a sore shoulder. . . . Waived from the Rams' injured list were wide receiver Alfred Jackson and linebacker Howard McAdoo. . . . With Ed Brady gone, Jim Laughlin will become the Rams' snapper on punts and field goal kicks. . . . For what it's worth: Herman Edwards, former Philadelphia Eagle cornerback, has been hanging around practice. . . . Denver Coach Dan Reeves, when asked if the Rams got the better of the Busick trade: "I always thought that what you got for a player is what he's worth." . . . There are no plans for a meeting between holdout wide receiver Henry Ellard and Ram management. The last meeting was Aug. 25. in Stockton.