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It Has Been a Strain, Says Bain; No Longer Can He Carry Around 300 Pounds

Times Staff Writer

Arnold Schwarzenegger, relax. Breathe easy, Tom Selleck.

The truly incredible hulk, Bill Bain, is changing his image. No more centerfold-type poses for Sports Illustrated. No more flexing his magnificent physique. No more aches and pains, he hopes.

If all goes well, there will be less Bill Bain to push people around when the undefeated Rams play at Kansas City next Sunday. The All-Pro offensive tackle isn’t sure less will be better, but he is convinced it will last longer.

“After 11 years (in the National Football League) of being able to carry over 300 pounds, it’s caught up with me,” Bain, 33, conceded Monday. “I can’t fool anybody or myself anymore. It shows in my joints and my knees and my general health.”

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His nagging injuries had accumulated and last week offensive line coach Hudson Houck ran Bain off the practice field. He didn’t play in Sunday’s 31-27 win at Tampa, aside from token appearances as a blocker for kicks.

“I don’t blame him (Houck),” Bain said. “I was sitting there flopping around, not doing my job, and he got ticked off. I was trying to hide the pain and gut it out and it didn’t work. (Sunday) I felt like the biggest jerk in the world not being able to help those guys.”

Bain has been riding an exercise bike for the last two weeks. He never would tell exactly how much he weighed--estimates ran as high as 325--and all he’ll say now is: “I’ve lost two belt notches on my practice pants.”

Bain was quiet on the Rams’ flight home from Tampa Sunday night. Center Doug Smith leaned over and asked: “Bill, what’s the matter?”

“What do you mean?” Bain responded.

“You’re not drinking,” Smith said.

Football players traditionally replenish their body with beer after a game, especially one played in such heat and humidity that even the natives considered it unbearable.

But Bain hadn’t played, so he drank no beer.

“No rewards,” he said. “I only reward myself when I play.”

He sat there on the plane and sipped orange juice and iced tea, and brooded as only Bain can brood.

“I’d completely forgotten how bad it feels to be on the sideline and watch a game,” Bain said.

He could have put on a cap and sat on the bench near one of the electric fans the Rams rented in an attempt to keep cool, but in his anxiety he stood by the sideline as Dieter Brock suffered seven sacks and Eric Dickerson was held to only 75 yards in 25 attempts.

“I haven’t slept worth a (bleep), I’m so bothered by the whole thing,” Bain said. “I’m hurt and can’t help the team. I feel bad that I couldn’t help those guys in the heat and humidity.”

Bain tore a rib cartilage near his breastbone in practice two weeks ago but played against the Minnesota Vikings, anyway.

“I had a big pain in my chest,” he said. “They shot it up.”

That means that he got a pain-killing injection.

But last week he tore rib cartilage on his left side, to go with his sore knees and arthritic ankles.

With guard Dennis Harrah on injured reserve for two more games with a torn thigh muscle, the Rams were without two offensive line starters at Tampa. Even so, Coach John Robinson said he wasn’t sure that’s why Brock was sacked and Dickerson couldn’t break any long runs.

Tony Slaton, who was an All-American center for Robinson at USC, got his first NFL start at right guard but, Robinson said: “There’s only one sack you attribute to him. Tony Slaton played very well at times.”

As for Bain, Robinson said: “I basically tried to tell him he had to get well (before playing again). We’ll know more on Wednesday.”

Ram Notes Quarterback Dieter Brock, with 46 completions in 63 attempts, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, is the National Football League’s most efficient passer over the last three weeks with a rating of 108.8. “Three weeks ago it was perceived that we had a huge (passing) problem,” Coach John Robinson said. “Now it’s perceived that we can’t run.” Eric Dickerson has had 26, 55 and 75 yards rushing in the same span. “We seem to be out of sync a little bit, plus the last two games we haven’t had the ball much in the fourth quarter,” Robinson said. “It’ll work out. We obviously miss the injured players.” . . . The Rams Monday declared their home games against San Francisco Oct. 27 and the Raiders Monday night, Dec. 23, as sellouts at 67,820. However, single-seat tickets, some partially obstructed, remain in all price ranges. . . . The league trading deadline is today. Robinson indicated that the Rams had nothing cooking, not even to honor Barry Redden’s standing request. “We need him,” the coach said.


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