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Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Around the NFC West: Options for Rams


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Blues chairman Dave Checketts is a contender to help keep the Rams in St. Louis. Wrote Checketts in an e-mail to the Post-Dispatch: "We have the ability to get this done and we have communicated this to the Rams. We approached this with the Rams months ago and have since that time put together a partnership of both concerned St. Louisans and outside capital. Last week, we communicated to Chip Rosenbloom in no uncertain terms, that he now has a clear St. Louis buyer. We are that buyer. We have reason to believe the NFL would approve our group as we have carefully explored their ownership requirements."

Earlier from Miklasz: Minority Rams owner Stan Kroenke offers the best hope for the team remaining in St. Louis. Miklasz: "He has the right of first refusal and can match any offer made to [Chip] Rosenbloom for that 60 percent [stake owned by Rosenbloom and sister Lucia Rodriguez]." Miklasz says the St. Louis community has five or six years to prevent a move. What happens if an outsider purchases the team with clear intent to relocate? Staying becomes untenable at that point, no?

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com says keeping the Rams could depend on whether the St. Louis economy can recover.

VanRam of Turf Show Times asks whether the Rams' potential sale could become a distraction for players and coaches. Absolutely it could.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in with new 49ers cornerback Dre Bly. Competition between Bly and Tarell Brown for the starting job will apparently be waged on friendly terms. Brown: "It's a wonderful feeling having a veteran come out here. He's a Pro Bowl-caliber player and it's great to have the opportunity to learn from him and watch him work."

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider takes issue with the 49ers' decision to let Isaac Bruce wear No. 80 during practice. Lynch: "Bruce said last year he wears it because it makes him feel comfortable and because he can spot himself more readily on film. Lame excuses both, and it's bad form the 49ers allow Bruce to wear Rice's number anywhere but in the privacy of Bruce's own home. What about tradition, about legacy, about preserving a uniform number for the best receiver to ever play the game?" On the other hand, Rice didn't have much trouble borrowing Steve Largent's No. 80 during his lone season with the Seahawks.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle quotes Bly as expressing supreme confidence in his abilities. Bly: "It's always been easy for me. I'm not trying to be arrogant. I've been consistently making plays. I haven't lost much quickness. I ain't no 4.3 guy [in the 40-yard dash], but I have football speed. My instincts make up for it. Everything is converted to football speed, and I have football speed."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Bly worked with the starters in practice Monday, but so did Brown. Nate Clements wasn't feeling well.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News updates Ronnie Lott's charitable interests.

Also from Brown: Bly listed among his career highlights the time in 1999 when Bruce first spoke to him. They were teammates with the Rams. Bruce made Bly wait two months.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation sizes up the 49ers' situation in the return game. Not much clarity at this point.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals were relieved when Larry Fitzgerald avoided injury during an awkward practice fall. This might be a good time to stop writing about how the Cardinals avoided key injuries last season and how such things tend to even out. It doesn't take a Cardinals fan to appreciate what Fitzgerald brings to the game. Also, only Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett and Bertrand Berry have stayed away from practice.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals aren't yet sure what position Boldin will take in negotiations now that Tom Condon has taken over as the receiver's agent.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks fullback Owen Schmitt is appearing in an acclaimed documentary about a small-town football agent and three prospects. Did Leonard Weaver have that kind of range?

Also from Williams: Answers to a few Seahawks-related questions and a picture of his 110-pound black Russian terrier. 

John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits Lofa Tatupu's difficult 2008 season. Morgan: "This is the Tatupu scouts warned us about and it's likely the Tatupu we'll see again if his wheels get busted out. He lost enough quickness that he could no longer cut downhill and towards the ball carrier. Attempting tackles from the side or rear, Tatupu failed to wrap and was cut away from or dropped. It led to a lot of missed tackles, a lot of broken tackles and some tackles where that extra few yards gained turned a stop into a good gain." No question, Tatupu needs better health in 2009. He also played through a thumb injury that required surgery.