Rams photo courtesy of L.A. Rams
Talk of Fame Network
The Los Angeles Rams officially returned to southern California this week when they opened OTAs in Oxnard, and the Talk of Fame Network was there to recall both the proud history of the Rams in L.A. and chat with head coach Jeff Fisher about the difficulty of moving from St. Louis.
Fisher is a born-and-raised L.A. guy who played in one of the greatest defensive backfields in college football history, alongside Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith and Joey Browner at USC, so it’s a homecoming for him ... and he’s glad to be there.
“It’s special,’’ Fisher said. “I’ve been gone a long time. You never forget the first time you step into a (professional) venue for the first time. I was 7, and my Dad took me to an Rams-Eagles game. I never will forget that. I’ve been a Rams' fan since.’’
Now he’s coaching the Los Angeles Rams he once cheered and trying to overcome a logistical nightmare with an offseason camp in Oxnard, summer training at UC-Irvine in Orange County and then up to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, where the Rams will train during the season for three years while their stadium is built. That’s a lot of time driving up and down the 405, but Fisher is less concerned about that than he is the job of preparing rookie quarterback Jared Goff, whom the Rams traded up to to acquire with the No. 1 draft pick.
“We’ll do what’s in the best interest of the immediate future and the long-term future,’’ Fisher said of not rushing Goff into the lineup. “I can’t tell you when (Goff will play), but I can tell you when he does he’ll be ready. We won’t out him in a position to fail.’’
Patience is not always a virtue in the NFL, but former St. Louis Rams’ All-Pro wide receiver Isaac Bruce is practicing it now as he awaits another Hall-of-Fame vote in February that could send him to Canton. In the meantime he’s happy to see the Rams return to the city where he was drafted (1994) and hoping to become the first Ram from the new L.A. franchise to enter the Hall.
“I’ll be honest, I do like it,’’ Bruce said of the team’s return after a 20-year absence. “But its bittersweet leaving (St. Louis). My heart went out (to the fans). It’s the second franchise they’ve lost. We had a lot of success there. We won championships there.’’
Bruce also set records there that have him on the cusp of entering the Hall, but he was leapfrogged last year by co-host Clark Judge’s favorite (not) receiver, Terrell Owens. That outraged Bruce’s old coach, Mike Martz, but Bruce is more philosophical about it and strongly believes one of his teammates deserves a bust in Canton as much as he does.
“Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer,’’ Bruce said of his former quarterback. “Without a doubt. His story is just amazing. It’s made for Hollywood.’’
Jeff Fisher is hoping so are the transplanted Rams.
Our Hall of Fame co-hosts, Clark, Ron Borges and Rick Gosselin, couldn’t stop there however because they love L.A. So they visited with long-time Los Angeles Times football writer Sam Farmer, who has spent 20 years covering the NFL yet NEVER covered a game in L.A. until this fall.
Hall-of-Fame voter and Houston Chronicle football writer John McClain also stops by to talk about how Fisher will handle the move (McClain was there when Fisher made a similar one from Houston to Tennessee in 1997 when the Oilers left).
He also adds his personal insights on the Baylor University scandal that cost head coach Art Briles his job. As both a Baylor alum who began watching the Bears when he was growing up in Waco and as a friend of Briles, McClain brings a unique point of view to what the future holds for Baylor and Briles.
This week Ron makes a difficult Hall of Fame case for former Chiefs’ tackle Jim Tyrer. Many feel Tyrer was not only the best tackle ever to play in the AFL but also the best anywhere in football in the 1960s and early 1970s, yet he’s been waiting 36 years because of the tragic and violent circumstances of his death in 1981.
The guys also name their Hall-of-Fame NFL players turned actors, and that includes a vote for “Spartacus’’ NOT delivered by Michigan State alum Rick Gosselin.
The show can be heard on over 80 radio stations across America, via the show’s podcast on iTunes, on the TuneIn radio app or by simply going to talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the microphone icon.