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  1. #1
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/21/2010

    As the Rams attempt to reinvent themselves, a development that is long overdue, it's interesting to monitor two burgeoning relationships that could redefine the franchise.

    The Rams are clearly making a more personal connection with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. It's a bonding process that probably will result in the Rams choosing Bradford with the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL draft April 22.

    Perhaps even more compelling is another emerging buddy story: that between Rams minority ownership partner Stan Kroenke and pending majority owner Shahid Khan. We'll have more on Khan and Kroenke later in the column.

    But a couple of months from now the Rams could have a new franchise quarterback in Bradford, and a new ownership team in Khan and Kroenke. The combination of Bradford and a Khan-Kroenke partnership would accelerate the franchise makeover, initiate a fresh start and provide renewed hope for the organization and its demoralized fan base.


    Bradford-to-the-Rams isn't a done deal; the Rams are eager to see Bradford cut loose and air it out on his March 29 Pro Day. "That will be the final test," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Wednesday in an interview with the NFL Network.

    The organization is pleased with the medical reports on Bradford's right shoulder. "Everything up to now, he's passed with flying colors," Devaney said. "The medical reports are excellent. We went through the interview process, and he's an impressive guy. But we, like a lot of people, are really anxious to see Sam throw the football."

    Devaney and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur made a trip to Florida earlier this week to have a more up-close and personal meeting and football classroom session with Bradford.

    Bradford is scheduled to visit St. Louis on April 12. Naturally, the Rams will look at other quarterbacks and invite them to town for visits. And a weak or otherwise disappointing showing by Bradford on March 29 could prompt a shift in the Rams' thinking.

    Moreover, Devaney isn't ruling out a trade-down scenario. And he shouldn't, given the Rams' thin roster and the value of owning extra picks in a deep draft. Devaney is playing this the right way. The Rams are genuinely excited by the idea of making Bradford a centerpiece of their rebuilding. And by sending that signal along the NFL information pipeline, Devaney is letting it be known that he's dealing from a position of strength. If an NFL team wants to acquire that coveted No. 1 pick, they'll have to make a sweet offer.

    It appears Bradford is the only player in this draft with the potential to attract legitimate trade interest in the No. 1 slot. As one executive with an NFL team told me: "This is a quarterback league, and Bradford is the only franchise quarterback in this draft. A lot of teams need quarterbacks. He's the one. Teams aren't going to trade up to No. 1 to take a defensive tackle."

    The Rams' leveraging of Bradford will continue. He's the favorite to be chosen No. 1 by the Rams, but there's plenty of time on the game clock.

    Meanwhile, another ritual is under way.

    Khan and Kroenke appear to be hitting it off, which is positive news. Strong ownership is a must for the Rams to truly move forward as a franchise

    Khan would like Kroenke to continue in his role as the team's 40 percent owner. Kroenke has been predictably silent on the matter.

    Kroenke has until April 12 to announce his decision. His options are (1) remain in place as the 40 percent partner; (2) sell his 40 percent to Khan; (3) opt to trigger his right of first refusal and try to buy 100 percent of the team.

    The third option is remote because it would require Kroenke to engage the NFL in a battle to change its rules prohibiting cross ownership. Kroenke owns NBA and NHL teams in Denver that compete with the NFL Broncos for sports dollars in the market.

    Selling the 40 percent to Khan is doable. And league sources with direct knowledge of the situation insist that Khan could fund a 100 percent purchase. But a larger transaction would likely lead to more intense scrutiny of Khan's financial might, and that could slow Khan's quest for league authorization.

    Khan prefers to have Kroenke stay on board. Kroenke is already a member of the NFL ownership circle, so his presence would help Khan's goal of rounding up the 24 ownership votes needed for league approval.

    So how is it going between them?

    Khan and Kroenke have met at least twice, and perhaps three times. And Kroenke isn't attempting to conceal it, which is unusual based on his normal customs of doing business.

    The most recent Kroenke-Khan meeting occurred Tuesday night in Denver. Khan was Kroenke's guest for the NBA game between his Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards.

    And Kroenke didn't keep Khan in the background, out of view, for privacy purposes. Khan and Kroenke spent at least part of the game seated together at courtside at the Pepsi Center. And my Denver media spies tell me that Kroenke invited Khan into the Nuggets locker room after the game; Kroenke even introduced Khan to a couple of media people.

    I take this as a good sign. I don't believe Kroenke, an honorable fellow, would go to the length of putting on a public display unless he liked Khan and was comfortable about providing visual evidence.

    And if Kroenke likes Khan, it seems logical to conclude that a basis for a partnership is forming.

    Khan and Kroenke aren't commenting on their relationship. Khan, respectful of the NFL process and out of deference to Rams majority owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez doesn't want to be interviewed until the league votes him in.

    But Khan seems to have a new and influential buddy in Kroenke.

    And in Bradford, the Rams appear to zeroing in on a new franchise quarterback.

    After years of chaos and a 1-15 season in 2009, these are welcome developments.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    It appears Bradford is the only player in this draft with the potential to attract legitimate trade interest in the No. 1 slot. As one executive with an NFL team told me: "This is a quarterback league, and Bradford is the only franchise quarterback in this draft. A lot of teams need quarterbacks. He's the one. Teams aren't going to trade up to No. 1 to take a defensive tackle."
    Add another to the collection of comments or tidbits that suggest the NFL is really down on Jimmy Clausen. I really wouldn't be surprised to see a Quinn/Rodgers-like slip for him on draft day, if these comments are an accurate reflection of thoughts around the league.
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  3. #3
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    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Add another to the collection of comments or tidbits that suggest the NFL is really down on Jimmy Clausen. I really wouldn't be surprised to see a Quinn/Rodgers-like slip for him on draft day, if these comments are an accurate reflection of thoughts around the league.
    In my opinion if the Rams really feel Bradford is a Franchise QB, I don't think it'd be worth getting more picks, I'd rather just go for the sure-thing QB and pick him #1 overall.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  4. #4
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    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    I agree Varg, but it would be rather foolish to at least publicly state your not interested in trade offers, eh? If you get that ridiculous "OMG we'll give you our first this year, our second, our third and our first NEXT year can we haz Bradford?" that would be damn tough to turn down.

    I'll stick with what I siad earlier, and that's that Bradford will be throwing to Avery this coming preseason.

    The notion that Spags is a "defensive coach" so he has a "defensive mind" is silly. He's a Head Coach of an NFL team and he wants success and perfection in all aspects of the game and has shown exactly that in his drafting. He wants whoever is best for this franchise and I just and it seems the Rams along with most people around the league don't believe it would be another rotational defensive tackle no matter how good. You typically get 5-6 highly productive years from a defensive tackle and then its decline. Not sure what the life span on an NFL QB is but I'd wager 8 good years with a starting Qb that could last up to 15 if your Favre or Manning. They impact your team more and they last longer. I want us to get our QB now so that next year we can get those sexy picks and spend them on beast receivers and tackles.

    Rams simply can't get them all so with that being said you get whats best for the team.

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    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    Any given hit on any given player can end a career, But to have 2 previuos hits linger with the so called #1 pick seems as risky as paying too much for a DT. I still feel the Bradford had the opportunity to turn his shoulder on the latter hit and take off the force of the ground, yet it wasn't me getting hit and probably wasn't really on his mind at the time.(I guess the first hit was the worst anyway) It seems that of all the chances and busts and other senerios that have happened in the past years for the RAMS,this pick is the biggest chance of all. But and I say but, this could be the knight we have been waiting for since food mart lost their bagboy!!!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    I hear you Bralidore but let's be real here, I really doubt there will be a trade worth looking at especially if they are in love with Bradford. What I want to know is this: Do the Rams feel that the Offense is ready to have a Franchise QB and that that QB's name is Sam Bradford? When I say the O is ready, I mean that the FO feels confident in all aspects: OL, WR, RB, etc. If that's the case, I'm all for Bradford. I'm a big Suh advocate for sure but if that's how they feel about Sam then I'm all for it.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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