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Rams Get Another Receiver : Football: They give up a conditional draft pick for Phoenix's Ernie Jones.


The Rams, desperately seeking a third wide receiver, acquired Ernie Jones from the Phoenix Cardinals Thursday for a conditional draft pick.

Jones, 28, is a six-year veteran who caught 38 passes for 559 yards last season. He has 210 receptions in his professional career and led the Cardinals with 61 catches and 957 yards in 1991.

He would seem to fill a genuine need.

The Rams have been searching for a wide receiver to go with starters Henry Ellard and Flipper Anderson. The Rams are so desperate for another wide receiver, in fact, that they were willing to overlook Jones' problems off the field.

He was arrested in Phoenix on Feb. 13 for possession of crack cocaine and marijuana. He faced five felony charges, but agreed to join a diversion program to clear up the matter. He still must complete community service requirements and receive counseling. If he meets all of those requirements, his record will be expunged after a year.

"We have no comment about that," Ram Vice President Jay Zygmunt said. "To be perfectly candid, we don't know anything about it."

When told of the arrest, Zygmunt still offered no comment.

Jones, a seventh-round draft pick from Indiana, reportedly has been involved in other drug-related incidents. The Phoenix Gazette said he twice tested positive for marijuana during physicals at NFL combines in 1988.

"The only thing I know is what the situation is relative to the league," Ram Coach Chuck Knox said. "We will judge him on the basis of what he does here. He's been eligible and he's played. That's all I know."

Jones flew into Southern California Thursday. He passed his physical and arrived at Rams Park at 6:30 p.m. He said he wanted to put all his problems behind him.

"This is a fresh, new start for me and my family," Jones said. "I can start over and do everything right. Coach Knox said he's not worried about anything, and I assured him that he had nothing to worry about."

The Rams have now acquired three receivers in three days.

They obtained Sam Graddy from the Raiders Tuesday for a conditional draft pick and Wednesday claimed Tony Hargain, who had been waived by Kansas City.

But it's Jones who may give the Rams what they want.

"He is a proven, veteran wide receiver who has some impressive credentials," Knox said.

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