Robert (Red) Miller, offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, was named head coach of the Denver Broncos yesterday as National Football League clubs continued to shake up their staffs.
Miller succeeded John Ralston, who quit after first agreeing to remain as head coach following his replacement as general manager by Fred Gehuke in the face of a revolt by Denver players.
Meanwhile, the Oakland (Mich.) Press (circulation 80,000), which had reported last week that the Detroit Lions hoped to land Chuck Knox from Los Angeles in exchange for some players, was being justified, in part.
Saturday, the Los Angeles Times quoted owner Carroll Rosenbloom of the Rams as admitting he would be willing to let Knox go, "if he would be happier in Detroit."
Rosenbloom was reported as meeting with Lions owner Bill Ford in Los Angeles Friday night and having an "amiable" discussion.
Rosenbloom was quoted as saying he was "a little surprised" that the Lions talked to Knox first, reportedly offering him a $25 million contract.
"I told Ford we'd be available if he wanted to talk more. We have a fine relationship with Chuck as a coach and as a friend, but if he feels he'd like to leave and something (player compensation) can be worked out with us, we'd be willing."
Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times did a series of articles to the effect that there was dissension among the Rams, and saying that Knox had personnel changes forced on him by Rosenbloom, specifically at quarterback.
The Lions ended their persistent denials about being interested in Knox when general manager Russ Thomas told the Associated Press yesterday that Rosenbloom is using the press by making public demands for top young prospects from the Lions in exchange for Knox.
Thomas was quoted as saying that during weekend meetings with Rosenbloom, "We did not get specific about any of our players he might want. But, publicly, we see he wants a half-dozen of our players, like David Hill, Lawrence Gaines, and so forth."
The general manager said the session with Rosenbloom was designed to open the way for contract negotiations with Knox, but, as far as he (Thomas) knows, no offer has been made to the Rams for the coach.
The wonder is who the Rams have in mind to coach if Knox leaves Los Angeles receivers coach Lemman Bennett, who also calls the signals for the quarterbacks, is supposed to be high on the list of head coach candidates at Atlanta, along with Dan Reeves, who coaches the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback and receivers.
Eddie LeBaron, former Redskin and Cowboy quarterback, took over as general manager of the Falcons yesterday, succeeding Pat Peppler. LeBaron reportedly will select the head coach. Peppler coached on an interim basis after Marion Campbell was fired.
LeBaron said he had quit as a partner in a law firm in Las Vegas, where he has spent the last seven years. Before that, he was an attorney in Reno, Nev. He has spent all of his time in law since completing his career with the Redskins at a time when he was the smallest player in the NFL.