List of Ram Absentees Down to Two : NFL: Aaron Cox checks in with Knox, but Robert Delpino and Marcus Dupree are still unaccounted for.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four days into their first mini-camp under Coach Chuck Knox, the Rams' list of missing persons was reduced to two.

After unsigned receiver Aaron Cox checked in Thursday with Knox and got permission to stay out of the drills, only running backs Robert Delpino and Marcus Dupree remain unaccounted for from this mini-camp, which ends Sunday.

Dupree, who is unsigned, spoke Tuesday to Knox, and said he had hurt his hamstring but would be arriving soon. But he had not reported to Rams Park as of Thursday afternoon.

Delpino, who is under contract, has not yet contacted Knox, although Delpino has let it be known he is staying away from camp to protest what he believes is a lack of respect for his talent.

Knox said he would take no stance on Delpino's absence--whether to fine Delpino--until he spoke to him.

"I don't take stances on anything until I talk to people," Knox said Thursday. "I don't know what his stance is. I'm not going to take it second hand."

Knox has made no secret that he is searching for more running back talent--a notion that has irked Delpino, the team's most effective offensive player last year.

Thursday, the Ram coach said he had made no decision on what Delpino's role will be in the new Ram offense, this after weeks of hinting that he did not see Delpino as a full-time player.

"What we usually do, we sit down with a player, explain to them what we think their best position would be and how they think about that, what thought they might have," Knox said. "We just don't come in and say, 'Hey!'

"We'll talk to him when we see him."

The four-day first phase of this mini-camp ended Thursday with Knox saying he is pleased with the outcome. The goal was to get the new systems in place before the draft choices and rookie free agents arrive for two-a-day workouts today and Saturday.

"Set the tempo, set the scheduling, on time for meetings, on time for walk-throughs, time on the field, the weight work, the running, conditioning afterward," Knox said, ticking off his goals. "We want to establish right now what it's going to be like when we get going at training camp."

Ram Notes

Because of a scheduling conflict with baseball, the Ram exhibition season opener in Seattle against the Seahawks has been moved to Thursday, Aug. 6. It was originally scheduled to be played Aug. 8.

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