- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
If the Rams do sign Namath, they must weigh what effect he will have on their program. Despite his flamboyant reputation, Namath has the respect of his peers. He is thought of as the consummate team man, the epitome of dedication to his job. On the whole, though, the Rams probably view Pastorini more favorably than Namath because, as one Ram man puts it, "He has a long future. We can build with him."
In return for Pastorini, the Oilers have asked the Rams for their first-and second-round draft choices this year and next, plus an extra second-round choice the Rams own this year. The demand for five top draft choices should come as no shock to Los Angeles, because it set the precedent for this sort of deal by exacting roughly the same price from the Green Bay Packers for Hadl. And Houston has logic on its side. Under the new player contract, if Pastorini plays out his option this year and signs with another club for more than $200,000 (only about $25,000 more than he is currently earning), the Oilers would automatically be compensated with two first-round draft choices. So, in effect, Houston is asking the Rams for three second-round choices for the privilege of having Pastorini one year sooner.
Apparently, Los Angeles considers the price too high. "Sure, the Rams want Pastorini," says an Oiler assistant coach, "but they're not willing to give us anything for him." Around the NFL this posture surprises no one, the Rams being famous for their niggardly dealings. "All Los Angeles will try to do is steal Pastorini," says one club executive. "The Rams don't have enough guts to pay a boxcar figure for a quarterback. Look at their history. They never make a trade unless it looks good in the papers. If they really think that a quarterback is the only thing that's keeping them from being a Super Bowl team, and if they can keep their present team intact and get the catalyst they need just for draft choices, there's no reason why they shouldn't pay that price."
Last week Rosenbloom, his son Steve, General Manager Don Klosterman and Knox met in the Ram offices to mull over their quarterback situation. In the course of the discussion Knox volunteered that he had signed Namath to his first pro contract. Knox was a Jet assistant coach at the time, and he got Namath to agree to a three-year, $427,000 contract, an unheard-of figure in those days. Then Knox "baby-sat" Namath for two weeks to protect him from the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals until he had played his final collegiate game in the Orange Bowl and could formally sign an AFL contract.
Hearing this, Rosenbloom nodded toward his son and said, "And we made Joe Namath." Encountering a quizzical stare, Rosenbloom elaborated, "Because we owned the Colts when he beat us in Super Bowl III."
Wouldn't it be ironic if Namath now came to play for Rosenbloom?
"I'd only be delighted if Joe helped us win one," said the Ram owner. "If he made a contribution here, he would simply be paying me back. Joe Namath owes me one."