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Ram Notebook : Craig, Ever Health Conscious, Gives Defense a Real Workout

<i> Times Staff Writers </i>

Looking for reasons why San Francisco 49er Roger Craig is the leading rusher in the league? How about his weekly routine, which includes visits from a masseuse and visits to a chiropractor.

Craig, long known for the amount of punishment he takes during the course of a game, said he is paying more attention to his body. A healthy body, he said, is a body that stays in the lineup.

“I treat my body like an automobile,” he said. “Sometimes you need an oil change. Your body can get knocked out of alignment, like when a car hits a curb.”

Craig rushed for 190 yards Sunday against the Rams and scored 3 times. If anything, it will be the Rams who go to the shop for repairs.

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Craig appeared unstoppable on 2 of his touchdown runs, a 46-yard carry in the first quarter and a 16-yard carry in the fourth.

“At times, he was completely out of control,” said Fred Strickland, Ram linebacker.

Rookie linebacker Brett Faryniarz said: “It was like he was possessed. . . . What also made it hard to bring him down was the fact that he tapes his jersey just like a lineman. You can’t just grab at him, you have to get your arms around him.”

Said Ram Coach John Robinson: “Roger Craig was magnificent. I think it’s clear he’s the best runner in the league right now.”

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It seems that Robinson might have accidentally provoked the 49ers Sunday.

According to 49er free safety Ronnie Lott, some members of the team took exception to comments Robinson made on his weekly television show.

Said Lott: “Some of the defensive players were watching Coach Robinson’s show, and Coach Robinson made some statements that our defense wasn’t as good as it used to be. So we just went out and played hard. You just want to get respect, especially after someone makes statements about you that are negative. That’s what our defensive guys talked about and went out and played real hard.”

Faryniarz, thrown into the game because of an injury to Mike Wilcher, compared the feeling, sort of, to his days at San Diego State.

“It reminded me of my freshman year when I got put in. . . . What am I saying? This is nothing like college. Forget all that.”

Wilcher left the game with a concussion. Asked afterward about the game, he could only smile and offer apologies for his lack of memory.

About the heat: “I remember it being hot, but I’m not sure if it was bothering me.”

About the play of rookies of Strickland and Faryniarz: “I really don’t know, I can’t remember really looking at them.”

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At haltime, Olympic gold medalists Doug Partie and Bob Ctvrtlik (men’s volleyball), Greg Barton (kayak) and Janet Evans (swimming) were honored by the Rams.


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