A three-club deal, almost certain to be approved by the NFL would sold the Baltimore Colts' middle linebacker problem through the acquisition of Jack Reynolds of the Los Angeles Rams, it was learned yesterday.
The deal would nave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers give up a high draft choice to the Rams for Reynolds and then the Colts would send up a veteran player and a draft choice to the Buccaneers for him. After Tampa traded for Reynolds he said he did not want to play there.
George Allen of the Redskins frequently has discussed with the Rams a trade for Reynolds, most recently last week. But negotiations did not get serious because Allen does not have a high draft choice to match the one Tampa is offering, particularly since the Buccancers figure to finish much lower in the standings than the Redskins.
Allen drafted Reynolds from the University of Tennessee on the first round for the Rams in 1970. The middle linebacker played behind Myron Pettios until the latter came to Washington with Allen. Reynolds played behind former Redskin Marlin McKeever in 1971 and 1972 and became a starter the next year.
Reynolds recently agreed to sign again with the Hams, then was traded to Tampa. When he said he would not report to the Buccaneers because it is an expansion team, they arranged a deal with the Colts to salvage something from their trade with the Rams.
The Colts would not deal directly with the Rams to give up a No. 1 or No. 2 draft choice: it is against their trading policy.
The trade was not challenged by the NFI. but the terms of Reynolds' new contract with the Rams were. The contract is expected to be altered to satisfy the league and the Colt.
Head coach Ted Marchibroda has seen an admirer of Reynolds' style of play since Marchibroda was an assistant to Allen at Los Angeles.
Maxie Baughan, defensive coordinator and coach of the linebackers for the Colts, played that position with Reynolds at Los Angeles.
Marchibroda sees Reynolds as "the pure football player, put on this earth to play football . . . the Mike Curtis type (alluding to the former Colt now a linebacker with the Seattle Scahawks)."
In addition to needing help in the secondary, the Colts have thought their defense was not "hostile" enough, except in the line. It led the National Conference with 56 sacks and was second to San Francisco's league-leading 61.
Reynolds, 29, a native of Cincinnati, has the nickname "Hacksaw" because he was said in a fit of pique to have sawed a jeep in half.
He has been the Rams' quarterback on defense, accepting or rejecting formation signals from Rams coordinator Ray Malavasi. He is a veteran of seven seasons, is 6-foot-1 and 232.