The Rams franchise has been around for more than 80 years. The organization began as the Cleveland Rams, playing out of Cleveland, Ohio, before moving to Los Angeles and becoming the first organization in professional football to relocate the season after winning a championship.
The team played in Los Angeles, moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and recently, back to Los Angeles, making the Rams franchise the only franchise to win professional football championships representing three different cities. Despite the fact that the team’s last playoff appearance was in 2004, the team has remained one of the legendary franchises in all of professional football.
The Rams organization has been known for being the home to many iconic players. Names like Rosie Greer, Deacon Jones, Kevin Greene, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner have all, at one time or another, played for the Rams. In addition to all of these memorable Rams players, there have been several other notable people who have also been associated with the Rams franchise.
Some have gone on to have lengthy careers in football with other teams, while others have made their names in other fields. Here then, is a list of 15 people who, though well-known, are not well known for having played with the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams.
15 Al “A.C.” Cowlings
Anyone who knows anything about pop culture knows who A.C. Cowlings is. He was OJ Simpson’s best friend, and when things got rough for OJ after the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, Cowlings drove OJ in the white Ford Bronco in the memorable low-speed police chase across the freeways of Los Angeles. However, before that, Cowlings was an All-American Defensive Tackle who was a teammate with OJ in High School and at USC. A.C. was also drafted by the Buffalo Bills one year after Simpson.
After playing for the Bills and the Houston Oilers, Cowlings found himself back in Los Angeles playing in the Coliseum, but this time for the Los Angeles Rams. Cowlings had two separate stints with the Rams before finishing his career alongside Simpson once again, but this time with the San Francisco 49ers. Cowlings and Simpson became close friends due to their teaming together so many times, and, as writers like to say, the rest is history.
14 Joe Namath
Younger sports fans will remember a drunken Joe Namath who, when asked by reporter Suzy Kolber his opinion on the state of the New York Jets, responded by saying "I want to kiss you. I couldn't care less about the team struggling." Older fans know Namath as the man who, also in an intoxicated state, declared that the New York Jets would defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, despite the Jets being 18-point underdogs. In between those historic events, Namath was the starting QB for the Los Angeles Rams.
After 12 years with the Jets, which saw Namath garner a Rookie of the Year award, be named AFL MVP twice, win a Super Bowl and get named Super Bowl MVP, Namath was released by the Jets so that he could sign with the Rams. Unfortunately, by the time Namath got to the Rams, he was 34 years old and his knees were in bad shape. Namath went 2-2 as a starter, and was benched for the rest of the season. Namath retired after one season with the Rams, but he became a bigger star due to his appearances on television and in movies.
13 Brady Quinn
When Ron Powlus was in High School, it was predicted that he would become the second athlete to win the Heisman Trophy twice as the best college football player in the country. Powlus set a number of records as the quarterback for Notre Dame, but many of those records were broken less than ten years later by QB Brady Quinn. Quinn was selected in the first round of the NFL draft, but he bounced around the league, playing for a number of teams, including the St. Louis Rams.
As good as Quinn was in college at Notre Dame, he was only a marginal player in the NFL. Drafted in the first round by Cleveland, Quinn wore seven different jerseys during his seven seasons in the NFL, appearing in fewer games than he did in college. The final team that Quinn signed with was the Rams. Quinn never saw the field as a Ram, and after one season, he was off the team and out of the league.
12 Terry Crews
Terry Crews is a renowned actor, who is one of the stars of the hit television series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In addition, he has starred in a number of hit films and television shows. What many do not know is that before becoming a successful actor, Terry Crews was an All-Conference Defensive End from Western Michigan University, and was drafted in the 11th round in 1991 by the Los Angeles Rams.
Crews spent one season with the Rams, and six years total in professional football before embarking on a career as an actor. Crews’ acting career turned out to be his true calling, as he has starred in films alongside people like Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Jason Statham. Terry Crews has found his niche in life, and, far removed from football, few remember his time with the Los Angeles Rams. However, he will always be a member of the team’s alumni.
11 Ron Jaworski
New sports fans know Ron Jaworski as “Jaws”, the football expert that ESPN calls upon to dissect players, teams, games, and the draft, particularly with regards to quarterbacks. However, older fans know “Jaws” as a rifle-armed quarterback who took the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl while being named Player of the Year. Jaworski had his best years with the Eagles, but he started his career with the Los Angeles Rams.
Jaworski was drafted by the Rams, but started his career as a third-string player. After a few years, he worked his way into the starting lineup, but even though he played well as a starter, he was replaced the next season by a rookie Pat Haden out of USC. Traded to the Eagles, he led the team to the Super Bowl, but lost in the championship game. Jaworski retired after 17 seasons in the league with the NFL record for most consecutive starts by a quarterback, and the Eagles’ record for touchdown passes, but his career started with the Rams.
10 Quinn Ojinnaka "Moose"
Quinn Ojinnaka is an offensive lineman who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft, and spent seven seasons in the league. During his rookie season, Ojinnaka was part of the O-Line that helped Michael Vick become the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and four seasons later, Ojinnaka was a member of the St. Louis Rams. Ojinnaka spent parts of two seasons with the Rams, but he soon left football for professional wrestling, and wrestling fans will know Ojinnaka as current Impact Wrestling Grand Champion, Moose.
Moose began his wrestling career on the independent circuit after having failed to impress WWE officials following a number of tryouts. Making his way to Ring of Honor, Moose became a star and later, Moose increased his visibility after joining Impact Wrestling. Today, Moose is a two-time Impact Wrestling Grand Champion, and one of the top stars on the Impact roster.
9 Wes Welker
Wes Welker retired from football as the greatest kick returner in Miami Dolphin history and the greatest receiver in New England Patriots history. He also retired as a member of the St. Louis Rams. Welker came to the NFL undrafted out of Texas Tech, and he signed with the San Diego Chargers, but was traded to Miami after one game. In Miami, Welker established himself as a special-teams player, but he emerged as a receiver after joining the Patriots.
Welker was the leading receiver for the Patriots’ undefeated 2007 team, but Welker and the Patriots lost twice in the Super Bowl to the Giants. Welker caught passes from both Tom Brady in Boston and Peyton Manning in Denver before ending his career in St. Louis with the Rams. Welker’s stop with the Rams was the last of his record-setting career, but his work there helped him to set the record for most passes caught by an undrafted player.
8 Bernie Casey
Bernie Casey was a wide receiver with sprinter speed who was drafted in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers, playing 8 years in the NFL. The final two years of Casey’s career were with the Los Angeles Rams, during which Casey achieved his first and only appearance in the Pro Bowl. Casey left the league because he felt that the conservative nature of the league stifled his creativity. As a result, Casey left football and focused his attention on a career in Hollywood.
In Hollywood, Casey appeared in such films as Revenge of the Nerds and two of the sequels, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Brian’s Song, and the James Bond classic Never Say Never Again. Casey also appeared in films alongside Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase and Burt Reynolds. Casey’s acting career lasted well longer than his career in football, and allowed him the creativity that he sought.
7 Bill Goldberg
The key to Bill Goldberg’s stardom in WCW was the fact that Goldberg was billed as being an Atlanta native and a member of the Atlanta Falcons, tying him in with the Ted Turner organization, which was based in Atlanta, and whose networks (TBS, TNT) aired WCW programming. While it is true that Goldberg did play for the Falcons, his football career started as an 11th Round Draft Pick for the Los Angeles Rams.
Following two uneventful seasons with the Rams, Goldberg left the NFL for the World Football League, where he helped his team with the World Bowl Championship. A trip to the CFL followed before Goldberg returned to the NFL with the Falcons. Bill spent two seasons in Atlanta before becoming the first player cut by the expansion Carolina Panthers. Goldberg then turned to professional wrestling, and, over time, became the first wrestler to win the legit WCW World Title, the WWE World Title, and the newly created WWE Universal title.
6 Irv Cross
In the days when CBS was the pre-eminent sports network in the country, Irv Cross was the African-American to work full-time as a sports analyst on national television. Cross began teaming with Brent Musburger and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder on The NFL Today football pre-game show in 1971, until Snyder’s departure in 1988, with Brent and Cross leaving the show in 1990. However, prior to making history as a broadcaster, Cross was a Pro Bowl Cornerback.
Cross began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams. After the trade, Cross spent three seasons with the Rams before returning to the Eagles in the role of player/coach. Cross served one additional season on the Eagles’ coaching staff, and then he began his career as a football analyst. The NFL Today, the show that Cross helped to make famous, lives on with James Brown, Tony Gonzalez and Boomer Esiason.
5 Herm Edwards
Known as the man who coined the phrase “You play to win the game”, Herm Edwards, before becoming a famous coach and studio analyst, spent 10 seasons in the NFL, the first nine with the Philadelphia Eagles, and half of his final season with the Los Angeles Rams. During his years in Philadelphia, Edwards did not miss a game, starting in 135 consecutive games with the team. However, after nine seasons, Edwards was cut by the Eagles, and signed with the Falcons before finishing his career with the Rams.
Retired from football, Edwards turned to coaching, with varied levels of success. Nine seasons of coaching produced four playoff appearances and one division title. However, Edwards’ knowledge of the game served him well as he became one of the premier football analysts in the business. Edwards became so popular that many of his catch phrases, his “Hermisms” were captured in a book of motivational quotes.
4 Leon White "Big Van Vader"
Leon White, the man they call “Vader”, was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1978, and spent two years with the team. In his second season, Vader was a member of the Rams team that won the NFC Championship before being defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. White retired after the 1979 season due to a ruptured patella, and a few years later, White began his career in professional wrestling.
Among the accolades that Vader achieved during his wrestling career, he was the first non-Japanese wrestler to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title. While IWGP Champion in Japan, Vader also captured the CWA World Title in Europe and the UWA World Title in Mexico, making him the first wrestler to hold world titles on three different continents simultaneously. Vader finished his career as a two-time All-Japan Triple Crown Champion, a three-time IWGP Champion, a three-time CWA Champion, and a three-time WCW World Champion.
3 Marcus Dupree
Experts who saw Marcus Dupree run the ball in high school felt that he was going to be the best running back who ever played the game. After gaining nearly 3,000 rushing yards as a senior in high school, Dupree spent two seasons in college before deciding that he wanted to be a professional. Unfortunately, the NFL did not allow sophomores to declare for the draft, so Dupree signed with the USFL. After two seasons and several injuries, Dupree left the USFL and spent five years away from football before signing with the Los Angeles Rams.
Walter Payton urged Dupree to get back in shape and try to get into the league, and Dupree was signed by the Rams, the team that had drafted him after his college class graduated. Dupree made spot appearances for the Rams over two seasons, and finished with NFL career with 251 rushing yards, two yards more than the 249 that he gained in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl, which is still the record for that game.
2 Jason Sehorn
Jason Sehorn started his football career as a cornerback with the New York Giants. Though it took Sehorn two seasons to break into the Giants’ starting lineup, once there, he showed the skills that the team felt that he possessed when they drafted him. Sehorn was on his way to becoming a top defender in the NFL when injuries derailed his career. After eight seasons at cornerback with the Giants, Sehorn was released by New York, and signed with the St. Louis Rams as a safety.
With the Rams, Sehorn played through one injury-filled season, failing to pass his physical before the next year’s training camp. Pop culture historians will remember Sehorn for his marriage to actress Angie Harmon. Sehorn proposed to Harmon during Harmon’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Harmon accepted, saving Sehorn the embarrassment of being rejected in front of the studio audience, and millions of viewers watching around the world.
1 Kermit Alexander
Playing the first seven years of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, Defensive Back Kermit Alexander delivered one of the most legendary hits in the history of professional football. Playing against the Chicago Bears, Alexander delivered the hit to Gale Sayers that produced the injury to Sayers’ right knee that began Sayers’ decline. Three years later, Alexander was playing for the Los Angeles Rams, and Sayers was out of football.
Years later, Alexander made news again when his mother, sister and two nephews were murdered inside of his mother’s home in Los Angeles. Two gunmen entered the house and opened fire on the family, only to find out that the gunmen’s intended target’s address was two doors away. Alexander has been able to manage the grief and move on with his life, but he is constantly haunted by the memory of his family being brutally slain because of what could be called a simple reading mistake.