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Brown Loses Time With False Starts

See Ron run.

Ron runs fast.

But Ron, a Ram receiver, retires. Reason? No big raise.

See Ron revive his track career. Result? Rough.

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So . . .

Ron returns to Rams Park.

And there you have it, give or take a few dropped passes, The Ron Brown Story.

Brown is back, all right, reportedly more determined than ever to prove he deserves a place on the Ram roster. According to Coach John Robinson, Brown has 8 days--the remaining time in a 2-game roster exemption--to earn a full-time job.

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But there’s more to it than that, of course. There’s intrigue and confusion and ill will. See Ron run? Not without first answering a few questions, he doesn’t.

So . . .

Everything You Wanted To Know About Ron Brown’s Return . . .

(But couldn’t ask because you had company over.)

A sampling:

Are there two Ron Browns? The one I remember wanted out of a Ram uniform. What gives?

Brown was upset with the way the team handled the contract negotiations of LeRoy Irvin, Henry Ellard and Eric Dickerson. He thought a similar fate awaited him.

Said Brown during his April “retirement” speech: “I take life and business serious. A holdout? I don’t want to be a part of that. A controversy? I don’t want to be a part of that. We tried to negotiate, but unfortunately we were unable to come to terms. It’s time for me to move on.”

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So much for moving on. As for controversy, Brown and the Rams are up to their ankles in it.

Isn’t Brown broke? Isn’t that why he came back to the Rams--because he needed the money?

“That’s not true,” said Brown’s agent, Steve Arnold. “Under his original signing bonus with the Rams, he has a $2 million deferred payment plan. It begins next year with $100,000 for 10 years and then finishes up with a million. He is a multi-millionaire.”

OK, then, if he’s so rich, why is he here?

“I think it was pretty easy,” Arnold said. “Once you’re out of options, it’s easy. It was down to 2 (options): Did he want to play football or not? The trading deadline had passed and he was not traded. If he wanted to play football this year, he had to play for the Rams. There’s not a lot of bargaining position at that point.

“How did it get to that point? The Rams were not willing to trade him. They basically priced him out of the market.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire. Weren’t the Rams ready to deal Brown to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a second- and fourth-round choice in 1990? And wouldn’t the deal have paid Brown $1.6 million for 3 years?

Yes. And yes.

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But Buccaneer Coach Ray Perkins, who also doubles as the team’s general manager, wasn’t too impressed by Brown’s attitude or his playing condition. That figures, since Brown wasn’t too impressed by the Buccaneers or their playing condition. But for $1.6 mill, maybe you learn to adapt.

Naturally, the Rams were upset. They thought the deal was a near lock.

So why then didn’t the Rams try trading him to someone else?

Three theories here:

1) The Rams were so peeved at Brown because the Tampa deal fell through that they suspended all legitimate trade talk. To discourage interest in Brown, they raised the asking price.

2) The Rams, except for the Tampa offer, didn’t like any of the trade proposals.

3) They wanted to make Brown squirm.

How much will Brown earn if he makes the team?

A pro-rated salary of $220,000, which figures out to $13,750 a game.

What happened to Brown’s old jersey number--89?

It’s available.

The Rams assigned the number to rookie receiver Aaron Cox, but Cox wasn’t crazy about it. Cox wanted his old college number--84. But veteran tight end Greg Baty wore that number. Then Baty was released and Cox got his Arizona State jersey number back. Meanwhile, No. 89 was returned to the equipment room, where it sat until Brown’s “tryout.”

The Rams have Ellard, Cox, Flipper Anderson and Michael Young at the receiver position. What do they need Brown for?

They don’t. Ellard and Cox are starters for years to come. Anderson gives them a sprinter who can catch. Young, a possession receiver, is young and dependable.

That leaves Brown as a kickoff returner and fifth receiver. Go figure.

“They told me from the get-go that they really didn’t have any interest of Ron playing for the Rams,” Arnold said. “They had drafted these young wide-outs and they saw him as a kick returner. I said, ‘Fine. If you feel that way about him, trade him.’ ”

Will Brown make the team?

“I’ll make you a bet,” Arnold said. “Five-to-1 odds that he makes it. That’s baloney that it’s a tryout. In fact, how about 10-1 odds?”

Arnold may have a point. If the Rams waive him (the trading deadline has long since passed), they get nothing for Brown. If they keep him, they get a bargain-basement receiver/returner and the opportunity to sign him or trade him next year. What would you do?

For starters, how about, “Welcome back, Ron.”


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