San Diego Chargers General Manager Bobby Beathard says he has approached former Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bert Jones about playing for the Chargers this season.

"He's got that rocket arm, he's agile, he looks . . . like he never missed a day of football," Beathard said after watching Jones compete in Hawaii last week with past and present NFL players in "The Quarterback Challenge."

Jones, 39, quit pro football in 1982 because of a persistent neck problem that required the fusion of two cervical vertebrae. Beathard said he intends to check on Jones's medical status with Rams team physician Robert Kerlan, and has spoken to the Rams about acquiring Jones's rights.

Beathard also said he has advised Chargers owner Alex Spanos about his interest in the former Louisiana State star as a backup if the neck problems have been corrected.

"Bert said he'd love to play again, but he's not optimistic about getting {medical} clearance," Beathard said. "I told Bert if there would be any risk, we wouldn't be interested."

"No question I could compete. No question I can still throw," said the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Jones. . . .

Greg Bell, a 1,000-yard rusher for the Los Angeles Rams each of the past two seasons, has been traded to the Los Angeles Raiders for an undisclosed future draft pick.

Although Bell, 27, has been the Rams' No. 1 tailback the past two years, the team signed former Seattle Seahawks star Curt Warner as a free agent during the offseason and also has two young tailbacks, Cleveland Gary and Gaston Green, waiting in the wings.

A 5-foot-11, 210-pounder, Bell came to the Rams from Buffalo in 1987 in the three-way deal that sent Eric Dickerson from the Rams to Indianapolis.