Rams’ Welcome Mat Gets Workout : NFL: Team loses out on one free agent but several more will visit Rams Park.


The Rams lost the opportunity to woo Dallas wide receiver Kelvin Martin at the last minute Tuesday, but efforts to bolster their defense continued.

They greeted Minnesota defensive end Al Noga at Rams Park late Tuesday afternoon, and will provide the same tour today for Buffalo linebacker Shane Conlan, Cleveland linebacker David Brandon and San Diego linebacker Henry Rolling.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, meanwhile, will play host today to Ram linebacker Kevin Greene. The Chargers have submitted an offer sheet for Steelers’ linebacker Jerrol Williams, and if Pittsburgh fails to match the offer it will have to find an outside pass rusher, such as Greene, to replace Williams.

The Rams have their problems. They identified Martin as their top unrestricted free agent target at wide receiver, but apparently could not keep his attention.


Martin, who had responded positively to a Rams’ invitation and who had plane reservations to arrive in Los Angeles Tuesday evening, opted instead to remain in Miami for further talks with the Dolphins.

He informed the Rams that he would not make the trip to Anaheim without a firm contract offer from the team.

“The Rams have had plenty of time to study Kelvin Martin and they have miles and miles of videotape on him,” said Nick Kish, Martin’s agent. “If they want to sit down and talk with him, then make him an offer so he will know they are serious. Kelvin has been to seven different places and he’s suffering from a semi-kind of burnout.”

Jay Zygmunt, the team’s senior vice president and the one responsible for making such offers, was at Rams Park Tuesday, but did not return phone calls.


Zygmunt has not made a financial pitch for Noga, according to Noga’s agent, Randy Vataha, but if the Rams are so inclined they will find a willing listener.

“I know pretty much I will never be back with the Vikings,” Noga said. “If the numbers are right here, there’s no reason to go back home. I’ll just have my wife pack things up, sell the house and come out here.”

Noga, who earned $470,000 last season, has visited Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh and has plans to travel to San Francisco.

Although the Rams already have signed defensive end Fred Stokes, they said they remain interested in Noga (6 feet 1, 264). Noga has played on the left side throughout his career, while Stokes will start off on the right side for the Rams.

The Rams also want to beef up their linebacking corps, and are very interested in Conlan, who earned $970,000 last year. The Rams would like to replace Larry Kelm at middle linebacker, and believe that Conlan has the first- and second-down qualities they are looking for at that position.

Conlan will visit the Raiders after meeting with the Rams. His agent, Brett Senior, said Conlan also is interested in the Washington Redskins.

Brandon and Rolling, a pair of outside linebackers, have shown big-play flashes and are being recruited as insurance against the possible departure of Greene.

The Rams will meet with San Diego guard David Richards and Buffalo guard Mitch Frerotte next week.