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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Around the NFC West: Rams' sale plans

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says the Rams' ownership could decide by March whether to sell the team. Balzer: "League sources have told Globe-Democrat.com that Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are likely to decide by the start of the league year whether to accept an offer for not only their 60-percent share of the team, but also the 40 percent owned by Stan Kroenke. Should this be the case, it means Kroenke has agreed to sell his portion of the team. He currently holds a right of first refusal on any sale of the remaining 60 percent, but NFL cross ownership rules prohibit him from being the Rams' majority owner and managing partner."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo at the Senior Bowl. The Rams turned down a chance to coach the North squad. Spagnuolo: "I just felt like this year it was more advantageous for us not to do it. That does not mean I'm against doing it because there's some advantages and disadvantages. I just kind of weighed it out, and so we just went this way." Spagnuolo didn't want to get too close to the players he was coaching, for one.

Also from Thomas: The Rams do plan to speak with Isaac Bruce about possibly becoming their receivers coach, assuming Bruce retires, as expected.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com is taking suggestions for plays of the decade. Jordan Babineaux tackling Tony Romo after Romo fumbled the snap in that playoff game seems like one candidate.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times wonders whether USC's Taylor Mays might be a good fit for the Seahawks in the 2010 draft. O'Neil: "Mays is one of the most impressive physical specimens in this year's draft, an anomaly even in a league full of physical marvels. At 6 feet 3 and 231 pounds, he's as big as a linebacker and faster than just about anyone in Seattle's secondary. This is football, but he hits hard enough to be confused with a middle-of-the-order slugger. On the first day of Senior Bowl practice, he drew the loudest reaction from the crowd when he flattened Andre Roberts of the Citadel, preventing a reception."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Mays could be a bigger, faster version of Ken Hamlin, according to draft analyst Rob Rang.

Ben Malcolmson of usctrojans.com says USC assistant strength and conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar is following Chris Carlisle to Seattle for a job on Pete Carroll's staff.

John Morgan of Field Gulls looks at potential offensive line candidates for the Seahawks. This position will be interesting to monitor now that Alex Gibbs is the offensive line coach. How early will the Seahawks draft to fill a position of obvious need?

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Kurt Warner appears likely to announce his retirement Friday, but the quarterback hasn't told the team of his plans. Somers: "The Cardinals should be prepared for life after Warner, because it wasn't long ago that he didn't seem part of the present. The team took Matt Leinart with the 10th overall draft pick in 2006, and he started over Warner in 2007 until suffering a broken collarbone in the fifth game. Since then, Warner has started 48 of 49 games, missing a game against the Tennessee Titans this season because of the concussion."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says it's unusual for NFL players to go out on their own terms. Urban on Warner: "With such strong roots with family, faith and his charitable foundation, he’s in a different place than most NFL players. Money is certainly not an issue, and while Warner has always wanted to make sure he was recognized for being a great player (especially when his career dipped there for a while), his ego isn’t as big as many other athletes. Maybe that’s why he’d be strong enough to walk away when he doesn’t have to walk away – a concept many cannot embrace."

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 checks in with Cardinals tight end Ben Patrick, who had this to say: "Because our offense puts up big numbers and points, the foundation of our offense is overlooked. Our offensive line has been key to our success. We were able to run the ball on almost any team this season. It's something definitely overlooked in the run game and in the pass game. They gave Kurt time to pick apart secondaries all year long."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers need more time to fully evaluate Alex Smith. Maiocco: "How much better can Smith get? I don't know, but I see no reason to believe he will be less productive in 2010 than he was when he split snaps in the offseason with Shaun Hill and then worked his way onto the field in the 49ers' sixth game of the regular season. That question will go a long way toward determining whether the 49ers can make a move in the NFC next season. When I look at how he played in 2009, I see one thing that leads me to believe he can be a good quarterback: He made a handful of very nice and important throws while hanging in there, knowing he was about to absorb big hits. That is something that can't be taught, and it speaks to his toughness. On the down side, there were some passes in which he either missed open receivers (a pass intended for Jason Hill against the Seahawks that sailed high and out of bounds comes to mind) or he waited too long to make some throws at the boundary."

Also from Maiocco: Former 49ers offensive lineman Ray Brown is expected to join the 49ers as assistant offensive line coach. Maiocco: "Legendary offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick coached Brown for four seasons and raved about his professionalism, class and playing ability."