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PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Seeking Mann With Pass-Rush Ability

August 17, 1994|MIKE REILLEY

Hoping to improve their pass rush, the Rams on Tuesday worked out four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Charles Mann, who has had two arthroscopic knee operations in the last year.

Senior Vice President Jay Zygmunt is awaiting final results of Mann's physical and plans to begin negotiations with Mann's agent, Jack Wirth of Chicago, soon.

Mann, an 11-year pro who played in three Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins, has worked out for Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco and the New York Jets, with the Oilers and 49ers showing the most interest. A source said that if Mann can't strike a deal soon, he plans to retire.

The Rams have viewed their defensive line--featuring Pro Bowl tackle Sean Gilbert and free-agent acquisition Jimmie Jones--as one of the strengths of the team.

Mann, 6-feet-6 and 270 pounds, would be an insurance policy for Rams' starting defensive end Fred Stokes, who is recovering from a strained knee ligament.

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Have tight ends Troy Drayton and Travis McNeal become the forgotten men in the Rams' offense? Nope, says offensive coordinator Chick Harris, even though they have yet to catch a pass in exhibition play.

"Sure, they haven't caught a ball, but there have been plays designed to go to them," Harris said. "Sometimes the reads have taken them someplace else."

Has Harris been disappointed in the play of Drayton, a second-round draft pick last year who had complained of being ignored in Ernie Zampese's system last year?

"I haven't been disappointed at all," Harris said. "All last week, Troy caught more balls in practice than he has ever caught here."

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Assistant head coach Joe Vitt said the Rams will continue looking at veteran free agents, but the team is not interested in Chuck Cecil, the hard-hitting safety who was released Monday by the Arizona Cardinals. "One of the things we feel very, very good about right now is the safety position," he said. "We have five safeties who are improving and making plays." . . . Left guard Bill Schultz practiced with the first string Tuesday, a day after Chuck Belin had replaced longtime starter Tom Newberry at the position. . . . Sitting out practice with injuries Tuesday were tailbacks David Lang and Johnny Bailey, safety Deral Boykin and receiver Jermaine Ross.

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