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Rams Resume GM Search

Posted Feb 1, 2012


Miami Director of Player Personnel Brian Gaine interviewed with the Rams on Tuesday.

With Jeff Fisher in place as head coach and the bulk of his coaching staff lined up, the Rams have turned their attention back to finding the man who will lead the charge of picking players for Fisher and Co. to coach.

Only a couple weeks removed from the hiring of Fisher, Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer/vice president of football operations, and Fisher have restarted the process of interviewing potential general manager candidates.

Before hiring Fisher, the Rams had spoken to Atlanta’s Les Snead, Philadelphia’s Ryan Grigson and Tennessee’s Lake Dawson. All three paid visits to the Russell Training Center in St. Louis and spent time with Demoff. Grigson has since taken the general manager post in Indianapolis.

But now that Fisher is in place, he’s going to have a hand in joining Demoff and others in finding the right fit for running the personnel side of the operation.

Demoff has repeatedly emphasized the importance of having Fisher involved in the process, meaning that candidates that might have been interviewed before Fisher was hired could be brought back for a second look.

On Wednesday, Snead was the first candidate to come back for a second interview, meeting with Fisher.

“As we discussed with all the coaching candidates, if we hired a head coach first, we’d sit down with those candidates, identify the qualities we were all looking for in a general manager and start that process together,” Demoff said the day Fisher was hired. “This is the most important relationship in the building, that between a head coach and a general manager. We’ll make sure we get it right, and we’ll make sure we get it right for our building, for our players, our coaches and our fans.”

To that end, it’s been a busy week for Demoff and Fisher as they have met with five candidates in just three days.

On Monday, they met with New York Jets vice president of college scouting Joey Clinkscales and George Paton, the director of player personnel in Minnesota.

Yesterday, it was Arizona director of player personnel Steve Keim and Miami director of player personnel Brian Gaine speaking with the Rams.

Here’s a quick look at each of the candidates.

Joey Clinkscales, New York Jets vice president of college scouting

Clinkscales has been with the Jets for 17 seasons, four in his current role as the head of the team’s college scouting efforts. He was on the Rams’ original list of candidates first formed before Fisher’s hiring.

In his time with the Jets, Clinkscales has served in a variety of roles, working as an area scout in the southeast for seven seasons before moving to national scout before the 2002 season.

Clinkscales has helped scout and secure NFL Pro Bowl caliber players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis, center Nick Mangold and tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, among others.

After a successful college career as a receiver at Tennessee, Clinkscales was a ninth-round pick of the Steelers in 1987. He also played a year in Tampa Bay before moving on to part time scouting for Pittsburgh from 1989-1993.

Clinkscales and his family keep residence in Memphis.

George Paton, Minnesota Vikings director of player personnel

A more recent addition to the Rams’ list of potential candidates, Paton has headed up the player personnel department for the Vikings for the past five seasons.

In that role, Paton works closely with general manager Rick Spielman and his primary focus has been on developing the pro scouting side of that organization. He’s also been involved with the college scouting department.

Minnesota has enjoyed a successful run in Paton’s time in Minnesota, including sending 10 players to Hawaii for the 2009 Pro Bowl. Of those players, four were signed in free agency and one via trade.

Paton (pronounced Payton) started his career in the league in the college and pro scouting departments in Chicago, eventually being promoted to assistant director of pro personnel in 2000.

Paton then moved to Miami, spending six seasons with the Dolphins as director of pro personnel.

After a four-year career playing in the secondary at UCLA from 1988-1991, Paton played in professional leagues in Italy and Austria.
Paton and wife, Barbara, have a daughter, Bella and son, Beau.

Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals director of player personnel

A true grinder in every sense of the word, Keim has built a strong reputation in scouting circles for meticulously working his way up the scouting ladder.

Keim just completed his 13th season with Arizona, where he has climbed from regional scout to his current role running the college and pro scouting departments under the direction of General Manager Rod Graves. Keim has been in that role since May of 2008.

In his time with the Cardinals, Keim has contributed to a personnel department responsible for turning Arizona into contenders, including a trip to the Super Bowl.

Keim got his start with the Cardinals as their scout in the east, where he saw and eventually helped bring All Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald to the Cardinals from Pitt. He held that job from May, 1999 until June, 2006 when he was promoted to director of college scouting.

A native of Lewisberry, Penn., Keim had a productive playing career before entering the scouting ranks.

Keim was a college teammate of former Rams great Torry Holt at North Carolina State, where he was a two-time all Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a guard. He had quick stops with the Dolphins in 1996 and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 1997 before diving into coaching.

Keim was assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater for two years, assisted the recruiting coordinator with evaluations, and served as a liaison to NFL personnel wishing to scout Wolfpack football players.

Keim and wife Kimberly reside in Raleigh, N.C., with their son Carson and daughter Sloane.

Brian Gaine, Miami Dolphins director of player personnel

Like Keim, Gaine just finished his 13th NFL season and his first in his current role after being promoted just before the 2011 NFL Draft.

In his current job, Gaine works closely with general manager Jeff Ireland, coordinating the pro and college scouting departments for the Dolphins.

Gaine served his first three seasons (2008-10) with Miami as the assistant director of player personnel after joining the team on January 15, 2008. In that role, he was responsible for directing pro scouting operations for the Dolphins, including player evaluations on all levels of professional football, advance scouting, free agency and tracking player movement.

Before going to Miami, Gaine worked for the New York Jets from 1999-2004. He then spent three seasons as the assistant director of pro scouting for the Dallas Cowboys. Gaine followed Bill Parcells and Ireland to Miami.

Gaine played tight end at Maine from 1991-1995 before a couple of stints on practice squads in New York (Giants) and Kansas City before going to the Jets’ front office.

Gaine grew up in Pearl River, N.Y., and attended Don Bosco Prep High School in Ramsey, N.J.  He and his wife, Tricia, have a daughter, Kelsey, and sons, Ryan and Connor.