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Agent for Rams’ Greg Bell Says Holdout Is Inevitable

Times Staff Writer

The holdout of free-agent tailback Greg Bell, thought to be a foregone conclusion, was all but made official Friday after a 3 1/2-hour meeting between Bell’s agent and Ram management.

“At this point, it’s inevitable that training camp will start and Greg won’t be there,” said Steve Feldman, who represents Bell.

Feldman’s meeting with general counsel Jay Zygmunt began with high hopes but ended with nothing resolved. Feldman represents four of the team’s eight unsigned veteran free agents. His other clients are all offensive linemen--Duval Love, Robert Cox and Tony Slaton.

Feldman and Zygmunt have scheduled a Sunday meeting in an attempt to get one or all of the linemen in camp before Monday morning, when Ram veterans are scheduled to report.

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As it stands, the team would be hard-pressed to hold a meaningful practice. All-Pro left guard Tom Newberry is out with a hamstring pull and won’t be available for at least a few weeks, and starting left tackle Irv Pankey is apparently gearing up for another lengthy holdout.

“We’re trying to get everybody in camp,” Feldman said of his players. “But after today, things are up in the air. I don’t know if Sunday will create any revolution in the numbers. But I think Sunday can bring us closer.”

Although Bell’s case was discussed at length, the parties haven’t budged on the essentials. The Rams are offering base salaries of $400,000 the next two seasons with an incentives package that could make the total deal worth $1.1 million.

Bell, the National Football League’s fourth-leading rusher last season with 1,212 yards and 18 touchdowns, thinks he’s worth about $750,000 a season.

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Ram Notes

Saying his team is banged-up and weary, Coach John Robinson canceled today’s practice. The Rams will gather for early-morning meetings and take the rest of the weekend off. . . . Kicker Mike Lansford’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, hadn’t received a contract offer from the Rams as of Friday afternoon. Lansford, who made $195,000 in 1988, is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 582 points, having surpassed Bob Waterfield last season. Steinberg said he would consider a one-year deal that could get Lansford to camp on time, with the details to be worked out later. It’s the same technique Steinberg used last year with Gaston Green.


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