Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

As injuries mount, meet the newest Rams ... who used to be Rams

  • Updated
  • 0
Los Angeles Rams tight end Kendall Blanton scores a first-quarter touchdown past Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. in the NFC Divisional Playoff at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 23, 2022, Tampa, Florida.

Los Angeles Rams tight end Kendall Blanton (86) scores a first-quarter touchdown past Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) in the NFC Divisional Playoff at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 23, 2022, Tampa, Florida. The Rams re-signed Blanton in the wake of a suspension to backup tight end Brycen Hopkins. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES — As they prepare for their NFC West opener against the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday continued making moves to fortify a roster depleted by injuries and a suspension.

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

Blanton and Brown have 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 had been in for so long,” Brown said. “Excitement is the only word.”

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

Edge rusher Leonard Floyd played through a knee issue. Offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum suffered a season-ending ankle injury and cornerback Troy Hill was put on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

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

The Rams signed McKinley off the Tennessee Titans practice squad, reuniting the former first-round draft pick from UCLA 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 161/2 sacks in his first three seasons. In his final season with the Falcons, he had one sack in four games before he was released at midseason.

McKinley, 26, played last season for the Cleveland Browns, and had 21/2 sacks in 11 games before suffering an Achilles injury.

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

“It’s been a hell of journey, just to get back on the field, 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 however I can.”

Although Morris described his background with McKinley as “rocky” at times, he said they “always remained fairly close.” Morris said he never lost contact or a connection with player he counseled on and off the field.

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

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

“I’m thankful that we kept contact throughout the years, not even just on a football level, just on a personal level,” McKinley said. “He helped me out with things, being a father, just life.

“So, I’m forever grateful to coach Raheem.”

Blanton, 26, was a key player for the Rams during last season’s Super Bowl run. He caught seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs before suffering a shoulder injury in the Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals — an opportunity that opened the door for Hopkins.

In August, when the roster was trimmed to 53 players, the Rams cut Blanton. The Washington Commanders claimed him off waivers but later released him. Blanton signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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

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

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

Before last season, he signed with the Miami Dolphins. Brown gained 125 yards and scored a touchdown in 33 carries in seven games before he suffered a quadriceps injury.

Brown is once again the elder in a running back position group that includes Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.

“Malcolm is a pro’s pro,” offensive coordinator Liam Coen said. “Just does everything the right way, both on and off the field. He’ll be a great example for a ton of our younger players.”

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

“He’s just a guy that understands what we’re doing here,” Donald said. “Been here, knows the environment. So, adding him back to the mix is going to be great.”

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


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.


* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

DENVER — The nondescript one-story warehouse sits just off a busy street south of downtown. Motorists pass by the thousands and seemingly no one gives the place a second glance. If only they knew what happens on the other side of those corrugated metal walls. Not only is the 10,000-square-foot building home to a private collection of 18 lacquered muscle cars, but it's also where another No. 18 ...

TAMPA, Fla. — Make the call. Bend the knee. Open the vault. Do whatever it takes, but for goodness’ sake, find a way to get these crazy kids together again. Promise midweek vacations. Tease with more endorsements. Make it clear that he, alone, can rescue the Bucs. Just find a way to get Rob Gronkowski back in Tom Brady’s huddle. You can see it, right? There is nothing wrong with Tampa Bay’s ...

Joe Burrow tossed a late 2-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst to seal a 27-15 win for the Cincinnati Bengals over Miami. The game was marred by the horrific sight of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being taken off on a stretcher. Tagovailoa was chased down and slammed to the turf by Cincinnati’s Josh Tupou with about six minutes left in the first half. He was taken to a hospital with reported head and neck injuries. Vonn Bell’s interception of backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with three minutes left in the game set up the Bengals’ final drive.

LOS ANGELES — Eli Manning has some important family history that took place at the Rose Bowl, but he had never set foot in the historic venue until recently, when shooting an episode of "Eli's Places" that's focused on the epic national championship showdown between USC and Texas. "It's different being from the South and growing up in New Orleans," Manning said. "The Rose Bowl wasn't as big or ...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke for seven and a half minutes Wednesday, spread across 15 sets of media questions and his answers. He was accommodating and expansive for the most part, but there was one exception. In response to an inquiry late in the conversation, he provided a terse, six-second reply, more than twice as short as any other. The relevant backdrop: ...

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins’ defense stopped Josh Allen and the Bills at the goal line late, then held again after punter Thomas Morstead bizarrely kicked the ball off a teammate and out of bounds for a safety in a 21-19 win over Buffalo on Sunday.

The NFL players union told you what they think of the independent doctor’s diagnosis of Tua Tagovailoa’s possible concussion last Sunday after interviewing him and Dolphins team doctor John Uribe on Saturday. They thought, “many mistakes,’' were made, according to a league source. They thought after Tua bounced his helmet off the ground last Sunday when Buffalo tackled him, shook his head upon ...

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News