Eddie Brown, who dazzled Washington Redskins fans for two years with his explosive punt and kickoff returns, was placed on waivers yesterday by the Los Angeles Rams.
Brown, traded to Los Angeles midway through training camp two years ago, said he hopes to continue playing with another National Football League club.
"I definitely want to play, and I believe I'm capable of starting somewhere" said Brown, 28. "Right now I am a free agent. I can go anyplace."
A veteran of six seasons in the NFL and a former all-pro kick returner, Brown was the mainstay of Coach George Allen's special teams on the 1976 and '77 Redskins. He also played defense and was one of the most popular men on the team.
A native of Tennessee, Brown played college football at the University of Tennessee. The Redskins acquired him for $100 midway through the 1975 season after the Cleveland Browns had put him on waivers. Allen later would say it was the best $100 ever spent by the Redskins.
In 1976 Brown hit his stride with the Redskins, beginning with a key punt return on opening day against the New York Giants.
With 1:54 remaining in that game and the Giants ahead, 17-12, Brown took a punt on the Redskins' 13-yard-line and ran it back to the Giant's 42, setting up the game-winning touchdown.
In a Monday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles that year, it was Brown with yet another save. In over-time, deep in Eagle territory, Brown intercepted an Eagle pass to set up a game-winning 29-yard field goal by Mark Mosley.
Over the next two years, Brown regularly electrified crowds at RFK Stadium with kick returns of 25 yards that became commonplace and occasional breakaway runbacks of 45 to 50 yards.
But 1977 was Allen's last year with the Redskins, and when training camp opened the next season Allen had begun what would turn out to be an abbreviated stint at Ram coach. At the same time, the Redskins were seeking to improve their offensive line.
A deal was made to swap Brown and a 1981 seventh-round draft choice for offensive lineman Donnie Hickman and Jeff Williams and the Rams' third-round and fifth choices in 1980.
Brown, however, never played as well in Los Angeles as he had in Washington. On the first play of the first game in 1978, he hurt his knee and sat out the season after surgery.
"I would have retired before I would have played again in L.A.," Brown said. "I didn't like it out there. They had no respect for me and they didn't particularly like me.
"It was just a matter of both of us wanting out," said Brown, who lives in Haymarket, Va.
This spring, Brown said, he told the Rams "I didn't want to go back to L.A. I asked to get out."
He was put on waivers in May, Brown said, but then was taken off when it appeared the Rams might be able to make a trade for him.
But a trade never materialized, and Brown returned to Los Angeles last Friday just for a physical examination. He was told then he would be placed on waivers again effective today.
Brown said he believes several teams are interested in him, but he declined to name them.
"Right now, I'm just sort of waiting," he said.