It's official: Ram Coach John Robinson no longer will concern himself with the strike. That's it. He's serious. Enough is enough.
Robinson, tired of the emotional teasing that seems to characterize the recent contract negotiations, said Monday he is doing his best to kick the curiosity habit. Starting right now, Robinson said he could care less about labor talks.
"I don't know what to make of these larger issues," he said. "I find myself much better off trying to get ready for the next game. I tend to get angry at all sorts of people when I try to think through the whole thing. It seems ridiculous to me to be that out of it, in terms of knowing what's going on.
"I think it's best to just forget about it."
Only a few days ago, Robinson found himself nearly consumed by strike rumors. The walkout is over . . . no, it isn't . . . yes, it is.
Then came Sunday's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which, if nothing else, resurrected whatever hopes the Rams (1-3) have of salvaging the season. The victory also convinced Robinson to quit worrying about the possibility of more players crossing the picket line.
Now, when Robinson rearranges his practice schedule (Monday off, Tuesday work), it's because he wants more quality time with his non-union players.
"Last week, I was going to (practice) Monday and I said, 'Wait a minute. If anybody's coming, they'll come.' At that time, I thought maybe the whole team was coming. I responded to some of those stupid rumors that had been flying around. I said, 'Oh boy, the whole team's coming.'
"Now, I've really stopped asking," he said. "Last week, I was asking the guy down at the gas station and everybody else, 'Who's coming? What do you think?' I'm weary of it. I'm sure weary of it, of asking some other guy who's as dumb as I am. I'm tired of that."
So Robinson and the gang return to preparations for Game No. 3 of non-union football. If the progression goes as Robinson expects it to, this Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons should feature a more able Ram team. Practice makes perfect, and all that.
Ram Notes This from striking Ram linebacker Mark Jerue on the Rams' 1-3 record: "When we do come back, no matter where we are, we're going to try to dig ourselves out of this hole. Remember last year? I think we had a four-game lead on San Francisco halfway through the season (and yet, finished second in the division). You just can't give people that big of a lead anymore. We wouldn't come back with the attitude that it (the season) was over, but it's not the way you want to see it happen. We'd come back and face the challenge.". . . Defensive end Shawn Miller, who left Sunday's game with an ankle injury, is fine, Robinson said. He is expected to play against Atlanta.