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Vermeil open to possibility of role with Rams

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Arizona Cardinals v St. Louis Rams
ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 02: St. Louis Rams former head coach Dick Vermeil is given a jersey by owners Lucia Rodriguez and Chip Rosenbloom during a ceremony honoring the coach during halftime of the St. Louis Rams versus the Arizona Cardinals game on November 2, 2008 at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dick Vermeil in the Rams’ front office?

It has been an occasional rumor since Vermeil retired from coaching following the 2005 season in Kansas City. And with Stan Kroenke seemingly poised to take over the Rams, it has cropped up again recently.

Perhaps it would be in a consultant-type role. Or maybe more of a full-time position.

"I’ve never been approached by Stan Kroenke," Vermeil told the Post-Dispatch.

But if Kroenke calls, Vermeil would certainly listen.

"Oh yeah, I’d listen," Vermeil said. "There’s nobody in the United States more prepared to be an owner as Stan Kroenke. It’d be a crime for him not to end up with this football team."

For one, Kroenke has deep pockets.

"Which is a plus," Vermeil said. "But he would spend it wisely. And the other thing is -- I’ve said this many times -- he’s made enough money to be any kind of man he wants to be. And he’s selected just to be a great human being. He really is. I feel strongly about him."

Even though he hasn’t heard from Kroenke, Vermeil revealed, "I was part of another group trying to get in to buy this team. They invited me to be involved, and I was sort of excited about it."

Vermeil didn’t reveal the identity of the group, but said it was not Illinois businessman Shahid Khan or the group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts.

Vermeil has something else in common with Kroenke besides football. Both are in the Napa Valley wine business. Vermeil is in St. Louis this week to introduce a new red wine blend called "XXXIV" _ as in Super Bowl XXXIV, which Vermeil’s Rams won over the Tennessee Titans following the 1999 season.

Kroenke owns the Screaming Eagle winery.

Fitting his hard-working style and his blue-collar upbringing, Vermeil is hands on in the wine business -- even at age 73.

"I’ll go back to California for about three weeks and work during the harvest," Vermeil said. "I drive the tractor during the ‘pick’ and then go to the winery in the afternoon and help do the crushing and the destemming.

"You don’t have to know much about the wine business to contribute physical labor. All you need is someone to guide you and help you. (Wife) Carol goes with me. It’s fun."

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