PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Linebackers Not Among the Chosen


Tailback Jerome Bettis was the only member of the Rams’ 4-10 team to make the Pro Bowl. Coach Chuck Knox says linebackers Shane Conlan and Roman Phifer might have been overlooked.

“They would be two players who would come to mind without a whole lot of thinking,” Knox said. “But with our record as it is now, you’re not going to have many on there. Teams that win have more people on there. I can remember when we would have seven or eight players on there going 12-2 or 12-4.”

Conlan, a three-time Pro Bowl selection with Buffalo, leads the Rams in tackles with 95 and says he is playing some of the best football of his eight-year career.


“It’s probably my best year but there are some great players out there,” Conlan said. “I’ve been there three times, so let somebody else go. It’s a nice honor and it would have been fun. It just didn’t work out.”

“It’s not always fair, but the majority of the time they get the right guys in there. There’s some exceptions every year.”

Ram coaches think Phifer, who’s third on the team in tackles with 79, has been overlooked the past two seasons.

Phifer becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Rams have been trying, unsuccessfully, to sign him to a long-term deal.


Asked if the 30-degree temperatures expected for the game at Chicago could give the Bears an advantage, Knox turned to a tongue-in-cheek explanation of the conditions.

“Scientists have told us that you have to be in a climate for ‘X’ number of years before the hair follicles grow longer, before the skin gets thicker and you become immune to the cold,” Knox said. “I don’t know how much the blood vessels will thicken. But the skin (will, but) I think it has to be over millions of years, running around in 20-below with nothing on but a T-shirt and loin cloth on.


“If you’re going to fight in the North Atlantic, you better train in the North Atlantic. That hasn’t always worked out, either. Teams have gone back to those frozen tundra areas and tried to adjust in three or four days.”

Translation: The weather should have no impact.


Steve Israel continues to practice as the starting cornerback in place of Darryl Henley, but Knox expects Henley, sidelined with a groin injury, to be ready to play Sunday against Chicago.

Knox also expects linebacker Tom Homco (foot) to play, but added that the status of linebacker Chris Martin (calf) could change from questionable to out.