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Harrah to Take One Last Hurrah : Rams' Veteran Guard Says He'll Retire After Making Sixth Pro Bowl Appearance

December 24, 1987|CHRIS DUFRESNE | Times Staff Writer

Dennis Harrah, veteran guard who has played sparingly this season because of a chronic back injury, was still one of five Rams named to the National Football Conference Pro Bowl team Wednesday.

Harrah, a 13-year veteran, marked the occasion by officially announcing his retirement at the end of the season.

"It's a final chapter in a very lucky book for me," Harrah said of being named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time, in a vote of National Football League players and coaches.

Other Rams named were tailback Charles White, center Doug Smith (fourth time), tackle Jackie Slater (fourth time) and cornerback Jerry Gray (second time).

Harrah admitted the vote for him may have been based more on sentiment than performance. He felt, like many others, that teammate and left guard Tom Newberry was more deserving this season.

"I feel Tom had a Pro Bowl season," Harrah said. "(Tackle) Irv Pankey had good year also. When you deal with voting, unfortunately, it's not always fair."

Newberry, in his second year, said he wasn't upset at being passed over in favor of Harrah, who has become a mentor of sorts.

"It's a thing where he's earned it over the years to be there," Newberry said. "He deserves to be there and eventually I'll work my way to where, hopefully, I'll have that kind of respect to get in there year after year."

For White, the NFL's leader rusher, the honor was the high point in a season that almost literally began in the gutter. White, on Aug. 21, was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges and has submitted to daily drug tests since.

"Yeah, it's been a ride," White said of the season. "And I've held on."

White said he thought the fact he crossed the picket line to play during the strike might have hurt his Pro Bowl chances.

"Now that I've made it, it's a great feeling," White said.

White, Harrah, Gray and Slater made the team as starters with Smith serving as backup to Chicago Bears' center Jay Hilgenberg.

Harrah, who will miss Sunday's game at San Francisco with a hamstring injury, said he hopes the injury will be healed in time to play in the Pro Bowl game, scheduled for Feb. 7 in Hawaii.

Ram Notes Coach John Robinson said fullback Donald Evans will likely be moved to the active roster this week along with quarterback Hugh Millen. Evans is replacing Mike Guman, injured in Monday night's loss to Dallas. Evans would back up Tim Tyrrell, who moves into Guman's starting fullback spot. . . . Gene Upshaw, National Football League Players Assn. executive director, met with a few Ram players Wednesday, presumably in search of union dues. Upshaw, when passing Robinson in a hallway, told the coach to "keep his head up." Robinson suggested the executive director do the same. It's been that kind of year for both.

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