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Rams to Interview Rhodes for Top Job : Football: 49er defensive coordinator will discuss head coaching post, which will be in St. Louis if NFL approves application to move.

February 01, 1995|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — The Rams will interview Ray Rhodes, San Francisco defensive coordinator, today for their vacant head coaching position and intend to talk with Mike Ditka, former Chicago coach.

Today, the team also will hand deliver their statement of reasons and official notice to move to St. Louis to the NFL in New York.

"The statement of reasons is about 30 pages and all together our presentation will be several hundred pages," Ram President John Shaw said. "We have met league criteria and are providing 30-day notice as requested. Everything is proceeding kind of as we expected at this point, and we're just waiting for a vote now of league ownership."

Meanwhile, the search for a coach continues. Steve Ortmayer, Ram vice-president of football operations, said he received permission from the 49ers Tuesday to talk to Rhodes. He also was trying to reach Mike Shanahan, San Francisco offensive coordinator, but was too late. Shanahan was named head coach of the Broncos Tuesday night.

The Rams already have interviewed Joe Vitt, assistant head coach to Chuck Knox, and two unidentified collegiate head coaches. The Rams, while indicating they will release the names of those college coaches later, do not want to damage the recruiting efforts of college coaches, who face the national letter of intent signing period that begins today.

The Rams have not contacted Ditka, but Ortmayer said he has every intention of approaching him.

Ortmayer said the Rams would like to select a coach before next week's scouting combine workouts in Indianapolis.

The Rams' proposed move to St. Louis will be reviewed at a meeting of NFL owners in two weeks in Dallas, but the vote to approve the move is not expected until the March meetings in Phoenix.

St. Louis is committed to selling 40,000 personal seat licenses by early March, and while sales appear positive, Shaw said, "We're not making any predictions. It's wait and see."

The team, however, has made no immediate plans to move to St. Louis. The Rams, in fact, have talked seriously about conducting mini-camp and training camp at Rams Park while waiting for a practice facility to be constructed in St. Louis.

The Rams are scheduled to open the exhibition season at expansion Jacksonville, and are expected to play their first game in St. Louis against the Chargers. The Rams also have exhibition games against the Seahawks and Raiders.

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