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Rams : Rams Withdraw Contract Offer to Cox

July 16, 1988|CHRIS DUFRESNE | Times Staff Writer

The Rams' management team of John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt, who signed 10 of 14 draft choices this week in an apparent gesture of good will, have apparently turned the screws a bit on first-round draft choices Gaston Green and Aaron Cox.

The Rams pulled Cox's contract offer "off the table" Friday, claiming training camp holdouts would not be rewarded for their tardiness.

But are they holdouts? The Rams say yes. The players say no.

Ram rookies have participated in contact drills all week at Rams Park in Anaheim, but according to the National Football League, training camp officially opens Sunday when rookies report to Cal State Fullerton.

The Rams say the NFL date is a mistake and that rookies were due last Monday, in which case the Rams' four unsigned draft picks have been holdouts for five days.

Coach John Robinson said all rookies knew they were to report on July 11.

"If Aaron Cox wants to come in Sunday and say it's training camp, we'll allow it," he said. "But he knew. Everybody knew."

Wait. It's the agents who didn't know.

"I'd thought he'd be a holdout as of Monday (July 18) at 9:30," said Ernie Wright, Cox's agent.

Wright isn't the only one confused.

The Rams reportedly had increased a 4-year, $1.3-million offer to Cox to about $1.55 million, but they pulled back the offer when Wright called Friday.

"I was ready to come up (to Anaheim) today and stay as long as it took to get it done," Wright said. "They said he will not be rewarded for being a holdout and that the value would drop each day."

Still no progress with tailback Gaston Green, who has reportedly been offered a 4-year deal worth $1.745 million. Green's agent, Leigh Steinberg, had anxiously been awaiting the signing of the Raiders' Tim Brown, hoping to use the Heisman Trophy winner as a barometer in negotiations.

But with Brown's contract not yet complete, it seems that Green's signing is at least a few days away.

Ram Notes

The Rams have signed former UCLA and Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman, who missed the entire 1987 season with a knee injury. . . . The Rams have finally made a contract offer to second-round receiver Willie Anderson (4 years, $945,000), which has finally given Anderson the chance to refuse it. . . . Ram rookies scrimmage the Dallas Cowboys rookies today in Thousand Oaks. . . . Quarterback Jim Everett, who has been working out all week with the rookies, has been given the weekend off. . . . LeRoy Irvin has told Coach John Robinson he may report to camp a day or two early. Veterans aren't due until July 21.

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