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Kevin Demoff says Rams are prepared for Sean McVay departure

Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff speaks during a news conference announcing the arrival of coach Sean McVay.
Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff says the team has a plan in case coach Sean McVay, background, decides to step away.
(Michael Owen Baker / Associated Press)
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No hurry. Take all the time you need.

That is the message the Rams front office has sent coach Sean McVay as he ponders whether to step away or return for a seventh season.

“We’ve known for some time that he was going to wait until after the season to make a decision about whether he wants to coach in 2023,” Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer, said during an interview Thursday. “We’ve always told Sean we’d give him that space to make that decision and we’ll support him in whatever direction he goes.”

Demoff made his comments before former Rams lineman Andrew Whitworth’s ribbon-cutting for a multipurpose field at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles—Challengers Clubhouse in South Los Angeles. Whitworth refurbished the facility with the $250,000 grant he received for winning the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award last season.

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The defending Super Bowl champion Rams finished 5-12 this season, the worst year-after performance by a Super Bowl winner in NFL history.

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McVay, who last spring received an extension that makes him one of the league’s highest-paid coaches, said Monday he would take time to decide whether to return.

Demoff said there was no timeline for McVay’s decision.

“We view it however he sees it,” Demoff said. “There’s no deadline or answers we’re seeking aside from making sure we want the best for him.”

If McVay steps away, the Rams have “contingency plans in a situation like this that will be ready to be enacted,” Demoff said.

Demoff declined to specify those plans.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and associate head coach Thomas Brown would almost certainly be internal candidates to replace McVay if he does not coach in 2023. Both Morris and Brown, however, will interview with other teams next week.

Whitworth, who retired after the Rams victory in Super Bowl LVI, said for the Rams this season, “it’s almost like you put the last four years together of moments that went your way — and all of them went the other way this year.”

Whitworth has spoken to McVay, and he supports taking whatever time is necessary to reflect.

Former Rams lineman Andrew Whitworth at new field his NFL grant paid for in South Los Angeles.
Former Rams lineman Andrew Whitworth, the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year last season, donated his $250,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles—Challengers Clubhouse to install a new field and other accoutrements in South Los Angeles.
(Gary Klein / Los Angeles Times)

“It’s going to take time to step away and go, ‘What’s real and what’s not?’ ” Whitworth said. “And how do you really feel. What do you really want out of life, out of coaching and want out of your career moving forward.

“He’ll take some time and do that, and I think that’s really important for his development as a coach, as a man.”

Whitworth then cut the ribbon and oversaw activities as about 100 children broke in the new field, which features a large Rams logo in the center and other circles around “77” the jersey number Whitworth wore during his 16-year NFL career.

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Whitworth decided to fund the project, which includes new bleachers and shade structures, after speaking with Molly Higgins, the Rams’ executive vice president of community impact and engagement.

“He said, ‘Molly you know me. Let’s come up with another big idea,’ ” Higgins said, “and so I said, ‘I got just the idea for you.’ ”

Kim Washington, vice president of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many kids lost the opportunity to participate in sports because of restrictions and the cost of playing in outside leagues.

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The refurbished field will enable the club to once again offer sports programs that attract kids and their families, and serve as a gateway to tutoring and other services, she said.

Whitworth said his many charitable ventures are aimed to help the community and to serve as an example for his children and others to offer help when needed.

“I hope that not only do kids benefit from this, and great things come from it,” he said, surveying the field, “but that they recognize what it is, and want to make other people benefit from whatever it is they’re able to do.

“So, to me, that is really the legacy.”


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