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Punter Horan Might Wind Up With Rams : Football: Former Bronco and ex-Seahawk defensive lineman Woods could be added to roster before the season begins.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Seattle defensive lineman Tony Woods might be rejoining Coach Chuck Knox today, and former Denver punter Mike Horan, who played at Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton College and Cal State Long Beach, might have the chance to play in front of relatives for the Rams.

Knox said Tuesday the Rams still need a punter and a defensive lineman, but he refused to identify the players being courted.

An associate of agent Bruce Allen, however, said Tuesday night that Allen and Woods were on their way to Los Angeles to work out a deal that would bring the former No. 1 pick of the Seahawks to the Rams.

Woods, 6 feet 4 and 269 pounds, played outside linebacker for Knox in Seattle from 1987-89. In 1990, Knox had him add weight and moved him to defensive end.

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Horan also was on his way to Los Angeles Tuesday night.

“This is the first lead I’m pursuing. I’m in need of a job,” Horan said before leaving Denver.

“My folks, my wife’s folks, most of my brothers and sisters live in Fullerton and Anaheim,” said Horan, who will have to come up with a lot of tickets if signed by the Rams. “I’ve already thought that far ahead.”

The Rams do not have a punter on their roster, and while last year’s punter Don Bracken was called back to town Monday, it’s known the Rams took an immediate interest in Horan on Monday once they learned he had been released by the Broncos.

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Horan kicked seven years for the Broncos, but suffered a major knee injury last season. He underwent surgery, returned in time for training camp and then lost a duel with Tom Rouen.

“They said it was pretty close up until the end,” said Horan, who averaged 42.3 yards a punt with Denver. “My knee is fine now, but I’ve been contemplating not kicking with a brace.”

If the Rams add Horan and Woods to their roster they will reach the league maximum of 53 players. They jumped from 47 to 51 Tuesday with several moves, including the surprise announcement that running back Anthony Thompson had been placed on injured reserve.

Thompson had been on the team’s top performers in training camp until he broke his hand in the second exhibition game. He underwent surgery, had two screws inserted into his hand and then was advised he would be back in time to play in the regular-season opener with Green Bay.

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On Sunday, however, he re-injured his hand.

“I don’t know how it happened,” said Thompson. “It could have happened from something like shaking hands. I can’t pinpoint how it happened.”

Thompson’s vague explanation followed the team’s decision to place him on injured reserve. Although Thompson is expected to recover in the next month, the rules do not allow him to play for the Rams again this season.

The Rams claimed running back Ken Clark off waivers from Indianapolis to fill Thompson’s roster spot. They also claimed linebacker Jeff Brady from Green Bay, and recalled wide receivers Tony Hargain and Richard Buchanan and linebacker Tom Homco off waivers.

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Clark, 27, has rushed for 510 yards in 161 carries and has caught 43 passes for 314 yards. Clark, however, did not score a touchdown in his three years with the Colts.

The addition of Brady, a special teams specialist with the Packers, coincidentally comes five days before the Rams play Green Bay. Brady, 25, played eight games with the Packers last season after signing as a Plan B free agent from Pittsburgh.

The Steelers took Brady in the 12th round of the 1991 draft. He has not started a game in his two-year professional career.

The Rams put in a claim for former Charger defensive lineman George Thornton, but the Giants, by virtue of their 38-17 loss to the Rams last season, had first crack at Thornton and took him.

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When the Rams failed to land Thornton it left a roster spot for Bill Hawkins, who had been cut on Monday. Hawkins had been advised at the time that he would be back with the team in 24 hours.

However, when Hawkins reported to Rams Park Tuesday he was told he would not be needed.

“No explanation,” Hawkins said. “Just business.

“What I expected to happen was that I was going to come back here and they were going to try and bring me in at the minimum (salary). At that point I would have told them I was going to pursue other things because I don’t want to be a consolation prize.

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“It turns out they didn’t even want consolation prizes, they just wanted to sever all ties.”

Hawkins, a No. 1 pick for the Rams in 1989, was hit hard by injuries during his career here. A major knee injury last November kept him inactive until last week.

Hawkins would have received $150,000 from the Rams had he not pushed himself to practice twice last week and play against the Raiders. Once he passed the team’s physical examination last week, he lost claim to that injury money.

“I pretty much threw that away, but I wanted to get in and see how the knee fared,” Hawkins said. “I knew going in that I was giving up the $150,000 . . . but one of the things I wanted to do was go out on my own terms.

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“I didn’t have a great game, but I know I can still play football.”


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