Panthers official may join Rams
By Kathleen Nelson
Sunday, Jun. 18 2006

The Rams appear closer to restructuring their personnel department since
interviewing Tony Softli, the Carolina Panthers' director of college scouting.

Jay Zygmunt, Rams president of football operations, acknowledged that the Rams
had interviewed Softli but added, "We're in the process of talking to other
people and will make an announcement when we hire someone."

Zygmunt declined Saturday to identify other candidates or to acknowledge the
specific position for which Softli was interviewed. His statement seems to
contradict a story in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, which reported Saturday
that Softli was leaving the Panthers to take "an upper management position"
with the Rams.

After hearing of the newspaper report, Rams President John Shaw said he hoped
to announce a hiring and reorganized structure sometime this week but added,
"Nothing has been decided."

Changes in the structure of the Rams' personnel department had been discussed
through the 2005 season but were a low priority while Scott Linehan settled in
as head coach, replacing Mike Martz. Shaw said Zygmunt and Linehan had been
working on a restructuring plan and interviewing candidates since the
conclusion of the draft in April.

The Rams haven't had a director of pro personnel since Mike Ackerley left after
the 2000 season to work for the Tennessee Titans. In addition, general manager
Charley Armey will turn 67 in July and is under contract through 2006.

One of the more likely reorganization plans would eliminate the GM job, leaving
the department to be headed by a vice president for player personnel. If that's
the case, Armey could move to either the scouting or pro personnel branches of
the department.

Softli, 46, has ties to Linehan from 1994, when the two worked together on the
coaching staff at the University of Washington. Softli played linebacker for
the Huskies and has worked with the Panthers since 1995, first as a regional
scout. He was promoted to director of college scouting in 2000 and was put in
charge of the draft three years ago.

The only candidate identified publicly before Saturday was Ruston Webster, whom
the Rams interviewed when Webster was director of player personnel for the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Webster joined the Seattle Seahawks as president of
player personnel in late May.