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Rams confident new GM Snead can elevate team's stature

ST. LOUIS -- The Rams introduced 41-year-old Les Snead as their general manager Tuesday, bringing in another front-office veteran in their effort to escape the NFL cellar.

Chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said Snead, who had been director of player personnel with the Atlanta Falcons the past three years, was the first candidate the team called, even before they hired coach Jeff Fisher.

"From our first interview, it was clear he was ready," Demoff said. "We're set up for the future, and for future success."

Demoff said it was a coincidence that the Rams tapped the Falcons for their second consecutive GM. Snead replaces Billy Devaney, who had been assistant GM in Atlanta before coming to St. Louis.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for what the Falcons have accomplished the last four years," Demoff said. "There was absolutely no hesitation going back to a place we've hired from before. Our goal was to get it right."

Snead, who spent the past 13 years with the Falcons, said there was no awkwardness during the interview process because he and Devaney didn't discuss the job. Devaney sent a congratulatory text message along with a photograph from a beach on the Gulf Coast.

"It was a meaningful text," Snead said. "I showed it to somebody who doesn't know Billy, and they said, 'I don't know that person, but I really like him.' "

Snead loves the challenge ahead.

"This is a distinctive opportunity," Snead said. "You're going to hear me say a lot of times that everybody in this building's going to be passionate about winning. We're going to have a purpose, and then we're going to go thrive."

Fisher was hired in mid-January and heavily involved in the GM search. He said the Falcons run their personnel department similar to what he was accustomed to and that philosophies matched.

"It was a fit, it was a mesh," Fisher said. "I'm just really excited about moving forward, about the innovative ideas and where we're going to take this team."

The Rams are in the midst of an overhaul after winning just 15 games in the past five seasons. They have the second overall pick in April's draft after going 2-14 last season and are keeping their options open.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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