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Rams : Pankey Puts His Name on Dotted Line : Signs 2-Year Contract, Giving the Offense a Much-Needed Boost

Times Staff Writer

Irv Pankey’s holdout, which was supposed to have lasted the summer, ended quickly and quietly Friday afternoon when the Rams’ left tackle surprised everyone and signed a two-year contract.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for the team, which was facing a crisis on the offensive line. Pankey’s signing came three days before the Rams depart for an Aug. 5 exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers in Tokyo. It gives the team another starter on the line to go with center Doug Smith and right tackle Jackie Slater.

“It lets us get about our business,” Coach John Robinson said. “I had the feeling we were spinning our heels a bit.”

Missing still from the line are starting right guard Duval Love, tackle Robert Cox and center-guard Tony Slaton.

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“Hopefully, this should expedite their arrival,” Robinson said of the three others. “It certainly should.”

Robinson had been in a real pinch because Pro Bowl right guard Tom Newberry already has been declared out of the Tokyo game with a hamstring pull.

Pankey said he’d prepared himself for a holdout similar to 1986, when he missed three exhibition games before signing.

The difference here was the Rams put some workable numbers on the table.

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“I was surprised it got done so fast,” Pankey said. “But I’m definitely pleased with what I got, or I wouldn’t be here.”

Details of the contract weren’t revealed, though his agent said no Ram would make a higher base salary, which would place Pankey in the $450,000 to $500,000 per-year range.

Pankey, a nine-year veteran, has been a solid fixture in Rams’ offensive line, though he has never had much luck garnering publicity around Pro Bowl selection time. He’s vowing to change that this season.

“I’ve been modest and low key,” he said. “I’m not going to start to rant or rave, but I’m going to start speaking my mind. Hell, it’s my 10th year. . . . Nobody’s going to toot my horn but me.”

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Ram Notes:

John Robinson said a move would be made today to clear room on the roster for Irv Pankey. The Rams have left to sign four veterans--Greg Bell, Duval Love, Robert Cox and Tony Slaton, plus two first-round picks, Bill Hawkins and Cleveland Gary. Tight end Damone Johnson is under contract but has not reported. . . . Robinson also said he hoped the Bell matter would be resolved by the time the team returned from Japan on Aug. 6.


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