The Los Angeles Rams are asking former Maryland quarterback Mark Manges to return $9,000 of his bonus. Manges, the Rams' fourth-round draft choice this year, left the Fullerton, Calif., training camp Saturday.
Manges departed with the approval of Coach George Allen, he said, because he had not been played for three days.
He had been dropped from the Rams' special teams after a poor scrimmage against the Oakland Raiders last Tuesday.
As for the $9,000, "It was all a signing bonus," said Manges. "I'm not going to pay any of it back. I was advised not to. "There's a stipulation in my contract that it has to be paid back if I leave without the team's consent, but I felt I had Allen permission."
Manges would not reveal that the Rams paid him in total bonus money.
Manges said he told Allen Saturday that he wanted to return to College Park and get his degree in business, then return to the Rams next year. Manges said Allen gave his approval three times during the meeting.
Manges earlier had missed two days of practice with a flu-like illness.
"I stood there and watched six straight practices like a spectator," Manges said from his home in Cumberland, Md. "All I could see was getting let go in late August and hanging around in the fall with nothing to do."
Classes at Maryland begin late next month.
By walking out on his own, Manges will remain the property of Rams. Otherwise the Rams would have had to waive him and he would have become a free agent.
The Rams' general manager, Don Klosterman, said Manges was put on the "left camp" list and his contract will be "tolled," that is, remain in effect for the same number of years but start in 1979 instead of 1978.
Commenting Saturday night on the departure of Manges, cornerback Monte Jackson and receiver Ron Jessie, Allen said, "If they don't want to play then we're better off without them."
"I left camp under the illusion Coach Allen was behind me 100 percent.," Manges said. "Then, to read what I did when I got home didn't please me. It made me a little angry.
"I'm not a quitter. We've got some discussing to do here. I was under one impression when I left camp. They apparently are under another one. We've got to get it out in the open. . . I wouldn't mind now going to another team whatsoever."
"He did quic camp," Klosterman said yesterday from Fullerton. "I made that quite clear - that he's not leaving with anybody's permission. George and Dick Steinberg [player personnel director] were there."
Told that Manges said he had Allen's approval, Klosterman responded. "George has empathy for him, but he owes the club a sum of money."
Klosterman said Manges had been sick and had fallen behind in practice.
"He said he felt he couldn't contribute this year and wanted to go home and straighten things out," Klosterman said. "He has ulcers or whatever. I suggested he get an upper GI [gastrointestinal] test when he got home."
The other quarterbacks in the Rams' camp are Pat Haden, Vince Ferragamo, Brian Dowling and Carlos Brown. All are veterans.
As for his illness, Manges said, "Ulcers? That's news to me. I was sick three times in two weeks and they've never taken a test on me yet."