Coach John Robinson of the Rams will be reunited Monday with the player he calls “the toughest man I’ve ever been around.”
Charles White, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and won a Heisman Trophy while playing for Robinson at USC in 1979, became a free agent Thursday when he cleared waivers asked by the Cleveland Browns. Friday, the Rams invited him to meet with Robinson. If all goes well, White is expected to sign with the Rams.
“I would like to play anywhere right now,” White said by phone from Cleveland. “I need a job.”
Robinson said: “It would be nice to bring him in here and give him a chance to re-establish his credibility as a player.”
At USC, White rushed for 5,598 yards. As a senior, he averaged 180.3 yards a game, and in the 1980 Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State carried 39 times for 247 yards.
The Browns drafted him in the first round in 1980, but his pro career has been beset by injuries and drug problems. He missed the entire 1983 season with a broken ankle and in four seasons had only 9 touchdowns and 942 yards in 276 rushing attempts. He also caught 83 passes for 684 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, he spent time in a drug treatment center. For the past two years, he has been lecturing high school students against drug abuse.