Kreider Bounces Back
Kreider Bounces Back
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
By Brett Grassmuck
MEQUON, Wis. - It’s been a long offseason for Rams fullback Dan Kreider.
Kreider is a true blocking fullback at 5’11”, 255 pounds. He was a member of the Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks, a game where he was laying down blocks for running backs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker. Parker set a Super Bowl record with a 75-yard touchdown run.
But the Steelers, like many NFL teams, are moving in a different direction with their offense. They will utilize more two-tight end sets, eliminating the need for a player at the true fullback position. So when Kreider’s contract ran out, the team didn’t have a need to bring him back. “I guess I’ve been blessed with a body that’s built for a fullback,” Kreider said. “Low center of gravity, big thighs, and I try and have a tough head. It’s kind of my niche in the game. If I wasn’t doing this, then I’d probably be home doing something else. To be a part of it, to be that piece of the puzzle, it’s fun.”On top of that, Kreider suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee with five games remaining in the 2007 season, officially ending his career with the Steelers on November 29.“It’s great to be here,” Kreider said. “I’ve been rehabbing hard the whole offseason trying to get it back. It’s one of those knee injuries where it takes time to heal.” Kreider wasn’t ready to say goodbye to football, so he dedicated himself to rehabbing his knee during the offseason with the goal of getting a workout with another team. That team happened to be the St. Louis Rams.
“I’m trying to just be diligent and keep training and rehabbing,” Kreider said. “Fortunately, I was able to get to a point where I could work out for a team. (The Rams) said they felt like they had a need for a true fullback, and they at least wanted to bring one in to camp. I’m just happy for the opportunity.”
The Rams brought Kreider in for a workout and signed the fullback just a couple days before departing for Mequon , Wis. , for training camp.
Kreider certainly isn’t a lock for the Rams final 53, but so far the coaching staff has been impressed with the veteran. The Rams have been using running back Brian Leonard as a hybrid running back-fullback. While Leonard is a solid blocker, he is more likely to be used as a receiver out of the backfield. Kreider is more of a bruiser who can open a whole for running back Steven Jackson.
Kreider joins the Rams having to learn a whole new offensive system. That usually would put a player behind the eight ball automatically, but with a new offensive system being installed, Kreider is right there with his teammates.
“I can tell you right now that he’s got a comfort level that I’m impressed with as a far as the offense,” head coach Scott Linehan said. “He’s a professional. That guy is all business. He’s out here and he takes every rep, and mentally he knows what’s going on. I’m really pleased that we were able to work something out with him.”
Training camp is usually the toughest time for NFL players, working through two-a-day practices and spending what seems like all day and night in meetings. But this training camp is different for Kreider, who is just grateful for the opportunity to keep playing football.
“Unfortunately, (training camp) is not the best part about football,” Kreider said. “It’s kind of like a necessary evil type of thing. It’s good to go through it, though. The OTAs are good to get you into shape, but there’s nothing like getting out there with the pads on and hitting.”
Spoken like a true fullback.
OH HENRY: The Rams have waived defensive tackle Josh Thompson after reaching an injury settlement and have added defensive tackle Henry Smith.
Smith, 6’2”, 310 pounds, was released by the New England Patriots in June after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M.
Thompson, an undrafted free agent out of Auburn , suffered a torn right planter fascia and was expected to miss at least a month.
INJURY REPORT: Prior to Tuesday’s practice, guard Mark Setterstrom felt some numbness in his lower right leg and foot, the opposite leg he suffered a torn ACL in last season. Linehan said the cause was likely a pinched nerve from a brace he was wearing on his knee, but Setterstrom was taken for a precautionary MRI during practice.
Wide receiver Donnie Avery sat out Tuesday’s practice with a small fracture in his pelvic bone suffered during Monday’s afternoon workout.
“It’s an unusual injury, but not a serious injury,” Linehan said. “He could be a few days, could be a week, not more than two weeks. He’ll be able to run and train. I think it’s more of a pain tolerance type thing.”
Tight end Anthony Becht and Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe suffered pulled hamstrings. Both missed Tuesday’s practice and are day-to-day.
Chris Draft also sat out of Tuesday’s practice with stiffness in his lower back and is also day-to-day.
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