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PRO FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Cowboys Get 'No' to Offer for Gary

August 13, 1993|T.J. SIMERS

Call it a coincidence, but on the same day the Rams became concerned because of an ankle injury to running back Jerome Bettis, they rejected Dallas' offer of wide receiver Jimmy Smith for running back Cleveland Gary.

Bettis, the Rams' No. 1 draft pick, returned to Cal State Fullerton Thursday night on crutches after undergoing almost four hours of medical tests at Centinela Hospital Medical Center.

The Rams said Bettis' right ankle will be placed in a removable splint to allow for daily treatment, and his condition will be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks.

Bettis injured his ankle during Wednesday's practice, and initially the team didn't consider it serious. On Thursday morning Bettis experienced pain.

The Cowboys, who figure to open the season without unsigned running back Emmitt Smith, decided Thursday to go after Gary. The Cowboys pitched Smith, their second-round pick of a year ago, to the Rams, who are looking for wide receivers.

The Rams had expressed an interest in Smith earlier and they had advised teams throughout the league that Gary was on the trading block. In addition, if the Rams were going to trade Gary, they had to do so by today or else Gary would be forced to miss the first game of the season. In that event, the Cowboys said, they would not be interested.

"Obviously, we've been talking with them," said John Shaw, Ram executive vice president. "But we're not interested in doing anything but signing Cleveland."

Coach Chuck Knox reacted with irritation when asked about Gary, talk of a trade to Dallas and the impact a Bettis injury might have on such a deal.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Knox said. "There's a lot of talk going on. When we have something to announce, we'll announce it.

"Why should I discuss anything going on, if anything is going on? What purpose does it serve? What I've said, is I would like to sign Cleveland Gary. I've said that from day one.

"We'll see what happens. (Today) is the deadline and that's the news. That's public information."

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