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Ex-Irish QB Powlus Returns To NFL


Ron Powlus is out of business attire and back in business in the NFL.

The former Notre Dame quarterback quit his job in the real world, where he worked for a Pennsylvania state senator, and signed Wednesday with the St. Louis Rams' practice team.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Powlus said. "This happened late, but I'm happy to be playing football again."

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The Rams needed a third quarterback after starter Tony Banks was lost for the season with a knee injury in Sunday's victory over New England. Powlus ran the scout team Wednesday behind Steve Bono, who'll make his first start since 1996 Sunday at Carolina, and Kurt Warner, who moves up from third string.

With only two weeks to go, Powlus has little time to assimilate to the system. So little that the Rams' third option at quarterback Sunday probably is Donald Sellers, a practice squad wide receiver who played quarterback at New Mexico.

That means Powlus is basically auditioning for a shot for 1999.

"I'll learn as much as I can as fast as I can," Powlus said.

After

Ron Powlus
Ron Powlus set 16 school records at Notre Dame. (AP)
ending his high-profile career at Notre Dame, where he set 16 school records, Powlus wasn't drafted. He spent the preseason with the Tennessee Oilers before being released, and was working on a policy committee in the Harrisburg, Pa., statehouse before getting the call from the Rams.

Powlus has a degree in marketing, but doesn't know if politics is the life for him yet. He said he needed a job when one opened.

"You sound like the local media back there," Powlus said. "I'm in a position, being as young as I am, I have a lot of different opprtunities."

Suffice to say Powlus isn't exactly in game shape.

"I've been running and lifting and just staying in shape in general," he said. "It's hard to do a lot of practicing as one guy. I can run and jog and lift some weights, but to actually do it on the field is different."

Powlus is perhaps a natural pickup for coach Dick Vermeil, who as a TV broadcaster saw Powlus play in person many times. Vermeil said Charley Armey, the team's director of player personnel, also thought Powlus had some potential.

"I liked him in college," Vermeil said. "I presented his games many, many times, saw him play a lot, saw him practice a lot. I liked how he competed, he was one of those just-get-the-job-done guys."

Powlus was saddled with great expectations the day he arrived at Notre Dame. He never won a Heisman Trophy, never even came close, and always knew it would be a big step to make it in the pros.

"I guess I saw a little more realistic picture," he said. "It's not easy and I knew that. The most I wanted was an opportunity to play.

"That's all I'm asking for. It's not a real complicated issue."

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