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Raiders Are Near Deal for Broncos' Green : Pro football: Former Bruin and Ram running back is expected to be traded for a third-round draft choice.

April 13, 1993|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gaston Green might come home as a Raider today or Wednesday.

The Raiders will decide within the next 48 hours whether or not to accept an offer from the Denver Broncos to trade the running back for a third-round draft choice.

The Broncos believe, barring a last-minute change of heart by the Raiders, that the deal will be completed.

Monday, Denver signed free-agent running back Robert Delpino of the Rams to a two-year contract.

Green gained 1,037 yards on 261 rushing attempts, averaging 4.0 yards per carry in 1991, his first season with the Broncos.

But, although his average per carry remained at four yards, his production dropped last season. He carried only 161 times, gaining 648 yards.

Losing faith in him, Denver obtained former San Diego Charger running back Rod Bernstine. Then came Delpino.

Green has one year left on his contract, calling for up to $975,000 next season.

Should the Raiders assume that contract, they would have to handle the situation with care. Last season, they tried to use three running backs, but left all three--Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen andNick Bell--unhappy.

With Allen a free agent, headed elsewhere, the Raiders could use Green's breakaway speed as an effective alternative to Dickerson and Bell. But the key would be making sure that all three backs are not left frustrated by a lack of playing time.

Green would be excited about returning to Los Angeles, according to his agent, Leigh Steinberg.

Green, 26, was born in Los Angeles, played his high school ball in Gardena, his college ball at UCLA and spent his first three years as a pro with the Rams.

But those last years were frustrating ones for Green. After gaining 3,731 yards to become the Bruins' all-time rushing leader, Green did most of his running with the Rams in pregame warm-ups. He carried only 129 times in three seasons with the Rams.

There were questions whether his breakaway style was suited to the pros.

He seemed to answer those questions in 1991. But they have cropped up again in Denver.

Now, he has a chance to decide his fate as a pro back where he started. But the next move is up to the Raiders.

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