Rams can­cel prac­tice amid fires, home evac­u­a­tions

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports - BY GREG BEACHAM


The Los An­ge­les Rams can­celed prac­tice Fri­day af­ter a wild­fire forced about 20 play­ers and coaches to evac­u­ate their homes.

The Rams (8-1) will cram their nor­mal Fri­day prepa­ra­tions into a work­out at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Satur­day be­fore they face the Seat­tle Sea­hawks at the Coli­seum on Sun­day.

Just one day af­ter the Rams were stunned by a mass shoot­ing re­sulted in 13 deaths less than 5 miles from their train­ing com­plex in Thou­sand Oaks, they were forced to make big changes in their nor­mal game- week rou­tine by two wild­fires burn­ing in Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties.

“I don’t think any­body’s house has been specif­i­cally af­fected, but they did have to leave the ar­eas,” coach Sean McVay said. “It’s still a scary thing, and ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate that they had to go through this. … We just felt like the most im­por­tant thing was for peo­ple to be with their fam­i­lies.”

About 45 Rams em­ploy­ees were evac­u­ated from neigh­bor­hoods south of the Rams’ train­ing com­plex, al­though McVay doesn’t be­lieve any homes have been lost. Those forced to leave their homes Fri­day in­cluded de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips and de­fen­sive line coach Bill John­son.

Some of the evac­uees moved early into the down­town ho­tel used by the Rams on the night be­fore games. McVay will hold morn­ing meet­ings at the ho­tel Satur­day, fol­lowed by a prac­tice at USC.

The Rams al­ready in­stalled most of their game plan for the Sea­hawks, McVay said. On Satur­day, his team will fol­low a plan that they used in Septem­ber dur­ing their short week of prepa­ra­tion for a Thurs­day night game against Min­nesota.

“Hope­fully things will get un­der con­trol in the next day, and then we'll get our work done (Satur­day) in a lit­tle bit of a con­densed fash­ion,” McVay said.

The Rams will hold a mo­ment of si­lence be­fore Sun­day’s game in honor of the 12 vic­tims of the mas­sacre at the Border­line Bar and Grill in Thou­sand Oaks on Wed­nes­day night.

“If any­thing, the last cou­ple of days give you that per­spec­tive that we talked about (Thurs­day),” McVay said. “Most im­por­tantly is hav­ing our play­ers and our or­ga­ni­za­tional peo­ple be able to be the lead­ers of their fam­ily as they go through a lit­tle bit of ad­ver­sity.”


Smoke from the Woolsey Fire looms above High­way 101 in Thou­sand Oaks on Fri­day morn­ing. The Los An­ge­les Rams, who prac­tice at nearby Cal Lutheran Univer­sity, can­celed prac­tice Fri­day be­cause 20 play­ers and 25 staff mem­bers were forced to leave their homes.

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