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Rams Get Rob Carpenter From Giants : Deal Serves as Notice to Reluctant Barry Redden, Wherever He Is

Times Staff Writer

The Rams, unable to communicate with Barry Redden through normal channels, sent him an open letter Friday when they acquired running back Rob Carpenter from the New York Giants for a sixth-round draft choice in 1987.

Wherever he is, Redden may finally have escaped from the shadow of Eric Dickerson.

“He refuses to talk to us,” Coach John Robinson said. “He may decide not to play this year, and we have to be prepared for that.”

Robinson, running back coach Bruce Snyder, strength trainer Garrett Giemont and player personnel director John Math have all been unsuccessful in trying to contact Redden.

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Nobody seems to know Redden’s whereabouts or his intentions, including his agent.

“I haven’t talked to him for several weeks myself,” said George Kickliter, a lawyer in Auburn, Ala. “He doesn’t have his answering machine on, which leads me to believe he’s out of town.”

Kickliter hadn’t heard about the Rams’ trade for Carpenter but said: “It’s understandable. They have to take care of themselves.”

With Redden absent, the Rams’ only other veteran backs were Dickerson, Mike Guman and Charles White, although tight end Tony Hunter also played as the back in motion.

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In 1982, Redden was the Rams’ first-round draft choice from Richmond, where he took a degree in psychology. Although a year ahead of Dickerson, he was unable to establish himself because of the players’ strike and a knee injury that limited his play to 8 rushes for 24 yards.

He is entering his option year this season, but his contract, believed to be worth $247,000 in ’85, isn’t the problem. He simply wants more playing time.

Against Kickliter’s advice, he failed to report to an offensive mini-camp last month, when the Rams took the first steps toward more use of a two-back offense.

Redden has rushed for 1,023 yards in his four seasons with the Rams. His major contribution was as a kickoff returner in ’84, when he shared the NFC lead with St. Louis’ Stump Mitchell, averaging 23 yards.

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Carpenter’s statistics are more impressive--4,360 yards rushing in nine seasons--but he is 31, five years older than Redden, and carried only 60 times for 201 yards last season. With the emergence of little Joe Morris, Carpenter--relatively slow at 6-1 and 230--no longer fit into the Giants’ plans, but he is just what Robinson wanted to complement Dickerson.

He is a good pass receiver and a strong blocker.

Robinson said: “He’s a solid player and a good inside runner, the classical fullback and the proven kind of player who can compete on a high level.”

Robinson doesn’t think Carpenter will have Redden’s problem about playing on the same team with Dickerson. “He has a clear understanding of what he has to do,” the coach said.

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The Houston Oilers drafted Carpenter in the third round from Miami (Ohio) in 1977 and traded him to the Giants in midseason of ’81. He was a free agent until he signed a contract with the Giants Friday so he could be traded to the Rams. He earned $250,000 last season but is expected to receive about $175,000 from the Rams.


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