- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jerry Rhome wasn’t much of a pro quarterback himself, but he has coached Super Bowl quarterbacks Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, Troy Aikman and Steve McNair. The 64-year-old Rhome’s latest project is Vince Young, whom Tennessee took third overall in last month’s draft in hopes of him replacing McNair.

“Vince is probably a little bit ahead of Steve because Steve came out of a smaller school [Division I-AA Alcorn State] and Vince was playing for the national champions [at Texas],” said Rhome, who tutored Young in the months leading to the draft. “I don’t know how quickly Vince will progress or what they plan on doing. They know they got a great athlete and what they’ll have to do with him.”

The Titans, awaiting an arbitrator’s ruling on McNair’s grievance about their barring him from working out at their facility, claim they’re not rushing Young even though McNair is expected to be cut. After all, they kept McNair, the third pick in 1995, on the bench behind journeyman Chris Chandler for his first two seasons.

“The thing that happens with so many of these young quarterbacks is they get thrown out there and end up getting hurt,” general manager Floyd Reese said. “They’re confused. They lose their confidence. You end up with a shipwreck. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen with this kid. If it takes a little bit longer then it takes a little bit longer, but that’s the process.”

Rodgers takes a step — While Young might get pressed into duty right off the bat, 2005 first-rounder Aaron Rodgers, won’t be No. 1 in Green Bay until the legendary Brett Favre walks away after this season. Still, Rodgers impressed his new coaches during minicamp.

“I was really pleased,” offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. “Aaron’s got it. He just needs a chance to do it.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy liked Rodgers’ unexpected mobility.

“Aaron’s movement qualities are something I don’t recall seeing a lot of in college,” said McCarthy, who as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator had studied Rodgers extensively before the 49ers drafted passer Alex Smith first overall in 2005. “He’s a lot better athlete than what people realize. He does a really nice job in space.”

Kramer hasn’t forgotten — Jerry Kramer, the Packers’ guard who rose to his fame with his game-winning block in the 1967 “Ice Bowl” against Dallas and with his subsequent book, “Instant Replay,” is auctioning off his Super Bowl I ring.

No, Kramer hasn’t soured on the Lombardi-era Packers. He’s taking advantage of the discovery of his long-missing ring, which was found in an online sports memorabilia auction last month and was returned to him last week in a ceremony at Lambeau Field.

Fifteen years ago, Kramer had a copy made from the same die cast. It’s that replica — authentic in its own right — that Kramer is auctioning off online to raise money for indigent and/or disabled former NFL players.

“Players of my era are having a little trouble financially,” Kramer said, noting that about 350 players who retired before the first collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the Players Association was signed receive pensions worth between $128 and $400 a month. “The physical and economic conditions they deal with due to the lack of sufficient pension and disability compensation is reprehensible. I just want to try and do something about it personally to help some of these guys.”

All proceeds will go directly to a fund for those players. The auction on JerryKramer.com ends today. As of last night, $21,500 of the goal of $30,000 had been raised.

History repeating? — Charley Casserly, who recently stepped down as Houston’s GM, broke into the NFL as an unpaid intern with Washington in 1977. Chicago director of pro personnel Bobby DePaul, who got his start as an assistant to the Redskins’ coaching staff in 1989, the year that Casserly became Washington’s GM, reportedly could be in line to succeed his former boss.

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