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Rams Interview Ortmayer for Vice President Position

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Rams have interviewed Steve Ortmayer, Raider special teams coach, and the team could name him vice president of football operations as early as Wednesday this week.

Ortmayer, who has had front-office experience with the Raiders and Chargers, would oversee all personnel decisions with the Rams, but his responsibilities would fall short of those held by most general managers in the league.

“I asked for permission from Al Davis recently and I have interviewed Steve,” Ram President John Shaw said. “We’re still talking. We’ll see what happens with the coach (Chuck Knox) and at some point he will interview with ownership (Georgia Frontiere).”

Ortmayer and Shaw said Saturday they have no deal in place, but Ortmayer has been the only one interviewed for the post, which is being added to the staff.

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“It’s something I have been thinking about for a year,” Shaw said. “It’s an addition to what we are doing. It’s something we almost did a year ago.”

Ortmayer worked as special teams coach for the Raiders from 1978-86, during which he handled administrative duties for Davis. His special teams enjoyed success, but Coach Art Shell indicated after this season that special teams were now a major concern.

Ortmayer left the Raiders in 1987 to become director of football operations for the Chargers, and during his three-year tenure in San Diego he fired Coach Al Saunders and hired Dan Henning. He successfully improved the talent level of the team through the draft and various trades, but took heavy criticism for trading tackle Jim Lachey to the Raiders for tackle John Clay, who was a flop.

Ortmayer fell out of favor with owner Alex Spanos when Bobby Beathard became available. Spanos had been interested in Beathard for years, and went after him. Spanos dismissed Ortmayer shortly before the end of the 1989 season.

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“I’m aware of the San Diego situation,” Shaw said. “Steve wouldn’t be signing players or handling a lot of administrative functions. But I think he has an eye for talent and he would be in charge of all personnel decisions.”

Jay Zygmunt is expected to remain as the Rams’ senior vice president in charge of signing players, and if the team comes to an agreement to move to St. Louis, he would oversee the move.


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