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PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Miller Groggy; Chandler Likely Starter

November 01, 1994|MIKE REILLEY

Eight days after suffering a concussion at New Orleans, quarterback Chris Miller still complains of headaches and "isn't clear about everything."

But Miller wouldn't rule himself out from starting Sunday against Denver, and Coach Chuck Knox on Monday wouldn't commit to starting Miller or Chris Chandler.

Chandler appears to have the inside track on the starting job, with Tommy Maddox backing him up. Chandler took most of the snaps in practice Monday.

"I would say right now that Chandler is the starter because he is getting all the work," Knox said. "I don't know what the situation would be Wednesday. Our doctors are monitoring Miller's progress, and we'll go from there."

Miller plans to throw in informal workouts today and return to practice Wednesday.

"I'm sure I could play," he said. "It'll be the doctor's call to see how I react to practice and putting a helmet on. I'm just going day-to-day right now. I rode the exercise bike hard and I just feel my equilibrium is a little out of whack."

Miller got the concussion when he was tackled by New Orleans' Ernest Dixon in the first quarter. He didn't know he had a concussion and played the rest of the first half, throwing a touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce.

He complained of dizziness at halftime, and was replaced by Chandler at the start of the second half. Miller said he doesn't remember any of the second half of the game. A CAT scan and MRI exam showed no brain damage, but team doctors held Miller out of workouts during the bye week for precautionary reasons.

"With all the stuff going on, and the stories that have been talked about, you become a little more leery of those types of things," Miller said. "And I was kind of messed up to begin with anyway.

"I've got concerns. I get headaches all the time, and I have a hard time reading an article in the paper, it starts getting fuzzy. It should start clearing up. Doctors say it sometimes takes a couple weeks and so hopefully, it will be sooner than that."

Chicago running back Merril Hoge retired recently because of Post Concussion Syndrome, which also forced former Jets wide receiver Al Toon out of the game.

Miller said he has had concussions four or five times in his career "this is the one that has stuck with me the longest."

"I got knocked unconscious for a brief period of time in college (at Oregon)," he said. "This one has just been hard for me, to get my head clear. It has kind of stuck with me."

Because of two knee surgeries and a variety of other injuries, Miller has never played a full season in his eight-year NFL career. He has been sidelined this season with a sore abdominal muscle in the exhibition season, and sore rib cartilage and shoulder injury in the regular season.

He has completed 51.2% of his passes with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions, and the Rams are 2-4 with him as their starter.

Chandler's sprained left ankle still isn't 100%, but he said he's approaching this week as though he's the starter.

"It's not exactly what I want," said Chandler, who injured his ankle Oct. 2 against Atlanta. "I would need a lot of time off to get it perfect but I'm playing with it and I'm used to it."

*

Steve Novak, general counsel with the Rams the last six seasons, will leave the team at the end of the week to become counsel for Fox Network. . . . Right tackle Darryl Ashmore, who returned last week from a knee injury, worked at right guard, backing up starter Leo Goeas. Rookie Wayne Gandy continued to work with the first-string at right tackle, with veteran Jackie Slater, back from a torn triceps muscle, as the backup. Slater's return allowed Ashmore to move to guard, where the Rams have no depth behind starters Goeas and Chuck Belin.

Ashmore, who was involved in a fight during training camp, helped break one up Monday between defensive tackle D'Marco Farr and practice squad player Brad Fichtel. . . . Wide receiver Richard Buchanan re-pulled a hamstring muscle during punt protection drills. Defensive end Robert Young (knee) expects to return to practice Wednesday. Linebacker Shane Conlan (pinched nerve) also missed Monday's practice but expects to be ready later in the week.

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