Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

While Rams Visit with Free Agent, Saints Nab Stokes Eagles' Gouveia Begins Parade of Talent through Boys' Club

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

While Rams Visit with Free Agent, Saints Nab Stokes Eagles' Gouveia Begins Parade of Talent through Boys' Club

Article excerpt

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kurt Gouveia dropped in at the Rams' Mathews-Dickey Boys' Club practice facility Friday.

He's one of several free-agent visitors who are expected to tour St. Louis.

There are tentative plans for visits next week by Cleveland-Baltimore fullback Tommy Vardell and Dallas linebacker Robert Jones.

In a visit Friday to Denver, San Diego defensive end Leslie O'Neal said he also plans to come here next week.

Sources also say the Rams are pushing hard to get a visit from Pittsburgh quarterback Neil O'Donnell.

Rams general manager Steve Ortmayer declined to comment on any of the potential visits, in part because they weren't totally firmed up as of Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Rams lost another backup to National Football Conference West division rival New Orleans. Veteran defensive end Fred Stokes, primarily a pass-rushing specialist last season, signed a three-year deal Friday with the Saints. Terms were not disclosed.

Earlier in the week, the Saints signed backup offensive tackle Clarence Jones to a three-year, $4.5 million deal.

"Fred filled a very solid role for us," Ortmayer said. "He apparently believed, as did Clarence Jones, that his role would be vastly increased with the Saints. Monetarily, (the Saints) treated both players as though they were going to be starters for them."

Gouveia, 6 feet 1 and 240 pounds, led the Eagles in tackles last season with 137 despite playing the second half of the year with a calf injury. An unrestricted free agent, he spent his previous eight National Football League seasons with Washington, helping the Redskins win two Super Bowls. He had an interception of Buffalo's Jim Kelly in Super Bowl XXVI.

"I'm excited to be here," Gouveia said Friday at Mathews-Dickey. "Ho pefully, I can help upgrade the (inside linebacker) position, shore things up for them. …

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