As Injuries Rise, Meet the New Rams…Who Were Once Rams

As they prepare for their NFC West opener against the Arizona Cardinals, the bouquets On Thursday, he continued to take steps to bolster a roster depleted by injury and suspension.

A day after signing Takkarist McKinley, the Rams signed the tight end Kendall Blanton and roster defensive back Shaun Jolly and veteran running back Malcolm Brown to the practice squad.

Blanton and Brown have a history with the Rams. Brown played for the team from 2015 to 2020 and Blanton from 2019 to 2021.

“Just excited to be back in this culture, this organization that I was in for so long,” Brown said. “Excitement is the only word.”

The Rams suffered a series of injuries before and during their 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Edge rusher Leonard Floyd played through a knee problem. Offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum suffered a season-ending ankle injury and cornerback Troy Hill has been placed on the injured list due to a groin injury.

Rookie cornerback Cobie Durant fourth-year cornerback David Long suffered hamstring and groin injuries, respectively. And Wednesday, the Suspended NFL tight end Brycen Hopkins for three games for violating the league’s drug abuse policy.

The Rams signed McKinley off the Tennessee Titans practice squad, reuniting the former UCLA first-round pick with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who coached him with the Atlanta Falcons.

In 2017, the Falcons selected McKinley 26th overall in the draft. The Falcons declined to exercise their fifth-year option, however, after McKinley generated 16½ sacks in his first three seasons. In his final season with the Falcons, he had one sack in four games before being released mid-season.

Rams tight end Kendall Blanton scores a touchdown last season against Tampa Bay in the NFC playoffs.

Kendall Blanton scores a touchdown last season against Tampa Bay in the NFC Playoffs. The tight end re-signed with the Rams on Thursday.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

McKinley, 26, played last season for the Cleveland Browns and had two and a half sacks in 11 games before suffering an Achilles tendon injury.

Ten months later, I practiced for the first time as a Ram.

“It’s been a hell of a journey, just to get back on the court, just to get to this point and just to be able to be back in an NFL locker room,” McKinley said, adding, “I’m just here to help though. I can.

Although Morris sometimes described his past with McKinley as “rocky”, he said they “always stayed pretty close”. Morris said he never lost touch or a connection with the players he advised on and off the pitch.

“He’s a guy who I know can help us in a pass rush,” Morris said, “and he’s a guy who I think deserves a second chance.”

McKinley said he had a “closer than close” relationship with Morris.

“I’m grateful that we’ve stayed in touch over the years, not just on a football level, just on a personal level,” McKinley said. “He helped me with things, being a dad, just life.

“So I’m forever grateful to Coach Raheem.”

Blanton, 26, was a key player for the Rams in the Super Bowl last season. He caught seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs before injuring his shoulder in Super Bowl victory on the Cincinnati Bengals – an opportunity that opened the door for Hopkins.

In August, when the roster was reduced to 53 players, the Rams cut Blanton. Washington commanders asked for waivers but later released him. Blanton signed with the Chiefs.

“He obviously knows the offense,” Rams tight end Tyler Higbee said. “So I can get here and be ready to go without having a big learning curve. Nice to see him back.

Brown, 29, signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and was a strong backup for Todd Gurley and others for six seasons.

In 2020, Brown rushed for 419 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries.

Before last season, hey signed with the Miami Dolphins. Brown gained 125 yards and scored a touchdown on 33 carries in seven games before injuring his quadriceps.

Brown is again the eldest of a group of running backs that includes Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.

“Malcolm is a pro of pros,” offensive coordinator Liam Coen said. “He does everything the right way, on and off the pitch. He will be a great example for a ton of our young players.

Veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald is happy to have Brown back on the team.

“He’s just a guy who understands what we’re doing here,” Donald said. “I’ve been here, know the environment. So adding it to the mix is ​​going to be awesome.

The Rams signed Jolly off the Cleveland Browns practice squad. He intercepted six passes in four seasons at Appalachian State.

Etc.

Durant, Long and Receiver Van Jefferson (knee) did not practice, according to the Rams injury report. Safety Jordan Fuller (hamstring) was limited. … The Rams waived linebacker Kier Thomas and running back Trey Ragas.