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Category: football

Jim Murray on Cullen Bryant


Jim Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist for The Times, has been gone since 1998, but it's always worth looking up his columns in the archives when researching news obituaries.

Even decades later, it's a joy to review his observations on the L.A. sports scene.

In 1975, Murray considered Cullen Bryant, the Los Angeles Rams running back who found himself at the center of a dispute between his team and Pete Rozelle, the commissioner of the NFL. Here's how Murray saw it:  

A funny thing happened to Cullen Bryant on his way to the Super Bowl the other day. He got blindsided by a guy he didn't even know was in the game. It was like getting tackled by a drunk from the stands. As far as Cullen was concerned, a 12th man was on the field.

The circumstances may be historic. One minute, Cullen was standing on the field in the livery of the Los Angeles Rams and it looked like he had a clear field ahead to big money, sunny Sunday afternoons and Super Sunday. Howard Cosell would be along any minute.

But somebody forgot to block the commissioner of all football, Alvin R. Rozelle, who blitzed.

Click here for the rest of Murray's column about Bryant, who died Oct. 13 at age 58.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Cullen Bryant, shown here in 1974 at the Coliseum, was a game-breaking kick returner for the Los Angeles Rams. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Rams receiver Leon Clarke and the house afire

Leon Clarke, 1933-2009

The news that Leon Clarke, a leading offensive end for the USC Trojans and the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950s, died Oct. 5 at age 76 brought back memories of the days when the NFL still played here in L.A. on Sundays -- and not just on television.

The Rams drafted Clarke in the second round of the 1956 NFL draft then after four seasons traded him to the Cleveland Browns. But the Clarke family stayed in South Pasadena (yes, instead of moving to Cleveland). Which leads us to the burning bungalow that Clarke helplessly watched from the Browns' bus as it drove to the Coliseum for a 1962 game against his former team.

Click here to read the original Times article.

-- Claire Noland


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