L.A. Rams may train in Irvine
The team started that season at training camp on the campus of UCI, the third summer the team spent in Irvine, including 1991 and 1992. And there are reports, as of yet unconfirmed, that the team again known as the L.A. Rams will return to UCI to train this summer.
Things will be much different than the last time the Rams trained at UCI. Back then Chuck Knox was the coach (he’d be fired a few weeks later), while future Hall of Famer’s Jackie Slater and Jerome Bettis were among the best players still on the losing team. Slater was a grizzled veteran who would retire after the next season as the only player ever to be with the same team for 20 years. Bettis was traded to the Pittsburg Steelers in 1996, and went on to stardom as “the Bus.”
Time will tell if any of the players at this summer’s training camp will end up in the NFL. If the Rams’ number one pic in the draft, quarterback Jared Goff, is one of them, it bodes well for the team’s next decade or more.
Football fans will have ample opportunity to get to know the players trying to make the Rams roster. The team will be featured on HBO’s unscripted show “Hard Knocks,” which offers an up-close and personal look at training camp in August and early September.
If the Rams do indeed train at UCI, the show will bring a good deal of attention to the city and the university, as well as revenue. Back in 1994, Ed Carroll, then UCI’s associate athletic director for financial affairs, said having training camp on campus was a boon to the school. “There’s the publicity value of having them here,” Carroll said in an LA Times story. “They pay for facility use, housing, food service, parking ... it’s a good chunk of change.” Plus, most practices are open to the public, so there will be a bit of an influx of customers for local restaurants and bars.
While we don’t expect to see Rams players out and about in the city much if they do train here (camp is a grueling endeavor), we’ll keep readers informed of any superstar sightings at the Anthill Pub or across the street at Eureka!