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THERE’S NO RETURN FIRE : Robinson Won’t Match Insults With Dickerson

Times Staff Writer

No, John Robinson said, he isn’t ready to jump into a lake or a controversy with Eric Dickerson, who is still firing barbs from Indianapolis at his old teammates.

Monday was the 1-year anniversary of Dickerson’s trade from the Rams to the Colts, and the star tailback celebrated the occasion Sunday by ripping his former coach, quarterback Jim Everett and running back Greg Bell during a nationally televised interview with Jim Gray on NBC’s “NFL Live.”

Among other things, Dickerson suggested that if Colt Coach Ron Meyer and Robinson were drowning in a lake, he’d save Meyer first. “John’s on his own,” Dickerson said.

Robinson took it all in stride.

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“I’ve been working on 47-Gap,” he said, referring to Dickerson’s suggestion last year that the coach try running the Rams’ bread-and-butter play. “And now I’ve got to learn how to swim.”

Robinson quickly followed by saying he wasn’t ready to engage in a war of insults.

“I think the thing should be let go,” he said. “Ultimately, what everyone has to do is stop responding to those questions. Because every show that Eric or somebody from our team is going to be on, somebody is going to ask that question. If we’re all still alive in 3 years, it’s going to be, ‘This is the fourth anniversary of the Dickerson thing.’ I mean it’s boring, actually, the whole thing.

“It’s a situation where everyone is satisfied and got what they want.”

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The other Rams, who have a 7-2 record and can joke about such things, were having fun with Dickerson’s remarks Monday. Kicker Mike Lansford was calling Bell “Grumpy,” of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” fame.

That was after Dickerson called Bell, his replacement with the Rams, a “little dwarf,” who is “is not in my caliber.”

Bell, who is actually 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds, said he hadn’t heard of the disparaging remarks until he returned home from New Orleans. It seems that friends left the details on his answering machine.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” Bell said. “He has his life, I have mine . . . These cross-coast bites, we’re not going to let that interfere with our season. The only thing on my mind is to continue to do whatever job I can to help this team continue to win.”

Robinson activated receiver Ron Brown on Monday. To make room for him, the Rams released veteran safety Frank Wattelet. And more moves may be in store later in the week.

Why?

Because Brown--who left the Rams to resume his track career, then thought better of it after he failed to make the Olympic team--becomes the team’s fifth wide receiver, and Robinson said he probably would not keep five.

Conclusion: Barring injuries at practice this week, receiver No. 4, Michael Young, probably will be the odd man out. Also, cornerback Clifford Hicks, who broke his leg a week before the season opener, is ready to return.

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The Rams’ passing game has come a long way in a short time. Just ask the coach.

“When we make a mistake (now), like Aaron Cox dropping that pass, the first thing that occurred to us was, ‘Hurry, hurry, let’s try it again, don’t worry about it,’ ” Robinson said.

“There was a time when we dropped a long touchdown pass and we said, ‘Shoot, we might not see that again for a month.’ It’s like Halley’s comet and it’s cloudy and you didn’t see it. You got to wait 76 more years. There’s not that feeling anymore. Now it’s more, ‘I can’t wait just to see what’s going to happen.’ ”

Ram Notes

For the record: Monday’s Morning Briefing said that Ram kicker Mike Lansford was not drafted. Lansford, in fact, was a 12th-round pick of the New York Giants in 1980. He was signed by the Rams as a free agent in 1982. . . . The drive toward youth: The Rams are using three rookies and a second-year player in some of their defensive packages--Fred Strickland, Michael Stewart, James Washington and Anthony Newman--prompting Coach John Robinson to say: “That group looks like the second half of a preseason game. But they’re doing really well.”

A funny fact: Robinson was much more thrilled with Sunday’s 2-point win over New Orleans than he was with a 21-point blowout over Seattle the week before. . . . Until Sunday, the Saints had not been shut out in a first half all season. . . . Charles Haley of the San Francisco 49ers passed Kevin Greene this weekend to take the NFL sack lead with 10 1/2. Greene, who did not have a sack against the Saints, has 10. . . . The Rams are 5-0 on the road this season and just 2-2 at home. What gives? “I think there’s a quietness about the road,” Robinson said. “You focus better. There’s not much to do. We keep Saturdays very low-key, very relaxed.”


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