By Bill Coats
09/13/2007 5:29 pm

Quarterback Brock Berlin, a member of the Rams’ practice squad, was shaken when he learned that former University of Miami teammate Kevin
Everett, now with the Buffalo Bills, had suffered a serious spinal-cord injury in Sunday’s season-opener vs. Denver.

“He was my tight end. We played together our junior and senior years,” Berlin said. “That’s just tough when you see anybody face something like that, and then to have someone you played with and was a good friend . . . . We’re just believing that everything’s going to work out good for him.”

On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited Everett for 90 minutes in his hospital room in Buffalo. When Everett arrived there Sunday, he was paralyzed below the neck.

Doctors originally termed the injury life-threatening and feared that even if he survived, Everett never would walk again. But he has shown significant signs of improvement, with some movement in his extremities.

“That’s awesome,” Berlin said. “I know everybody was so concerned after hearing the first report, but there have been a lot of people praying for him and I think he’s going to come out of this thing.”

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Scott Linehan was adamant Thursday: There will be no pity parties for the Rams, who have been wracked by injuries and are coming off a dispiriting 27-13 loss to Carolina in the season-opener.

“Adversity really is an excuse,” Linehan said. “We aren’t even going to go there. Whoever’s playing on the field is who we are going to win with.”

***

If he’s worried about operating behind a patched-together offensive line, running back Steven Jackson isn’t showing it.

“I definitely have confidence in the guys up front,” he said. “The guys are really jelling. They’re all hungry and want to play. It’s an opportunity that some guys take advantage of and make careers establishing themselves as starters, if not on this team then with someone else around the league, because you get snaps and get a chance to prove yourself.”

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Notes & quotes:

>>Barring a sudden recovery, don’t expect to see G Richie Incognito (ankle) in the lineup at least until Week 3, when the Rams are at Tampa Bay.

>>WR Drew Bennett experienced tightness in his hamstring after practicing Wednesday. He was limited Thursday, but Linehan said he expected Bennett to play Sunday.

>>Fans in the stands might want to stay in their seats at halftime. That’s when the Rams will honor recently Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Roger Wehrli by adding his name to the “Ring of Fame” at the Dome.

>>Although Linehan insists that a final decision hasn’t been made, it sure looks as if the Rams will start this offensive line Sunday: LT Alex Barron, LG Mark Setterstrom, C Brett Romberg, RG Claude Terrell, RT Milford Brown.

>>Linehan said newly acquired H-back Richard Owens is “close” to being prepared enough to play Sunday. But if he doesn’t suit up, there is a Plan B. “We carried four tight ends last week,” Linehan said. “If need be we’ll use one of them in the backfield, which is something we’ve been working toward.”

All for now…