It figured that on a day featuring an eclipse of the sun, the Rams would suffer from lack of Lyght.
The sun came back as scheduled in about an hour at Rams Park, but No. 1 draft choice Todd Lyght, a definitely unscheduled no-show at the five-day voluntary camp that began Thursday, was gone all day and will be out of town as long as he remains unsigned, according to Randy Vataha, one of his agents.
Lyght, who as recently as Tuesday planned to attend and did not inform the Rams that he wouldn't, doesn't want to risk injury, even though his agents and the Rams agreed to some insurance protection during the low-contact camp.
"It's not a statement or anything against the Rams," Vataha said. "It's just that we put our heads together (Wednesday) and decided the risk would be too great. It wouldn't be prudent for Todd to be there.
"Todd was there for the earlier camps (in April and May), because we felt those were learning-type camps and it was important for him to be there. But we felt this one was like the beginning of training camp, and guys would be flying around the field trying to impress the coaches. It's more a training-camp atmosphere than a learning atmosphere, and it was too much of a risk."
Vataha, who is representing Lyght along with Bob Woolf, said Lyght will probably spend the next few days at his father's house in Alabama.
The Rams have told Lyght's agents that they will make a contract proposal today, and Vataha said they hope to make a counteroffer by Monday, two days before the start of training camp.
The Rams designed this voluntary camp to give the high draft choices and several veterans some class time and drills before they might become training-camp holdouts. Unsigned players can attend voluntary camps but not training camp.
Among the veteran players asked to attend the camp, linebacker Fred Strickland and cornerback Jerry Gray, both unsigned, also were no-shows. Gray's agent is believed to have reached agreement with the Rams, but no contract has been signed. Darryl Henley, who is among a group of players who will battle Lyght for the starting right cornerback spot, missed the workout because of tightness in the upper leg.
All of the four other unsigned draft picks participated in the drills, led by second-round linebacker Roman Phifer and fourth-round cornerback Robert Bailey. In all, 59 Rams showed up.
"We thought he was coming," Ram Coach John Robinson said of Lyght. "But he isn't here and he has that right to not be here. He does not have a contract.
"He's playing a position that's probably not intellectually demanding. I'm glad Phifer's here. He has a more intellectually demanding position, more to learn. We established something and got him here at least."
The camp continues through Monday. The Rams will head to Irvine Wednesday and begin two-a-day practices Thursday. The following Saturday, the coaching staff will take many of the younger players to San Diego for a scrimmage against the Chargers. . . . Two unsigned veteran players did show up--linebackers Brett Faryniarz and George Bethune. . . . And how did Coach John Robinson spend his summer vacation? Well, about a week ago, he was invited to the White House for dinner. And whom did he sit next to? "I sat with John Sununu," Robinson said. "It was a great experience. He's a Giant fan, grew up in New York. He was fun to talk to. Obviously an interesting man."