Leckey happy to show his versatility in line
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Aug. 15 2008
Last October, running back Steven Jackson was flabbergasted when he got a look
at Nick Leckey, the Rams' newly signed offensive lineman. "I'm bigger than
him," Jackson blurted. "I asked him how much he weighed, and he said, '290,
295.' I said, 'If he's 295, then I don't even want to know how much I weigh.'"
Jackson's current weight is undetermined, because he's holding out for a new
contract. But Leckey has been in attendance from Day One and was one of the
pleasant surprises in training camp, which concluded Wednesday in Mequon, Wis.
Coach Scott Linehan made a point near the end of camp to single out Leckey for
his stout performance.
"He's played good; when we played down there in Tennessee, those two days (of
shared practices with the Titans last week), he really played good," Linehan
said. "They have good, physical tackles, and he blocked the heck out of them."
Leckey appreciated the praise, but shrugged it off quickly. "You can't let it
get to your head," he said. "But it's definitely nice to prove that your play
is turning some heads."
A long shot to make the 53-man roster coming into camp, Leckey worked at center
with the "ones" — the first-team offense — recently while Brett Romberg's
broken hand heals. And he fit right in.
"Every day you go out — even when I was (with) the 'threes' and 'twos' — in
your mind, you go, 'OK, you've got to think of yourself as a 'one,'" Leckey
said. "After you think about it, you're already focused and you're already
prepared. So when an injury and such happens, you're ready to jump in."
The 6-foot-3 Leckey, 26, played in 44 games, with 20 starts, over the 2005 and
'06 seasons at center for the Arizona Cardinals, for whom he was a sixth-round
draft choice in 2004. He was unceremoniously released after the second game
The Rams signed him Oct. 16, but he was inactive for three games before
mounting injuries on the offensive line got him onto the game-day roster. He
wound up starting three games at right guard, a position he hadn't played
Center, Leckey says, is where he feels at home. "I definitely am more
comfortable there," he said. "I made the transition my senior year of college
(at Kansas State), moved from left guard to center, and I've played center ever
since I got into the league."
However, he realizes that the more versatile he is, the better chance he has of
earning a spot on the team. "I feel like that's always how it's going to be for
me; I've always got to struggle," he said. "Like Coach (Al) Saunders (Rams
offensive coordinator) says, 'It's the longest job interview in the world.'"
Oh, and Leckey weighs in at 302 now.
The team returned to St. Louis on Thursday. Linehan has scheduled a
walk-through for this afternoon at Rams Park. … Tickets remain for Saturday
night's preseason home opener vs. San Diego. To make purchases, go to
www.stlouisrams.com; any Ticketmaster outlet; or call Ticketmaster
(314-241-1888, 314-421-4400, toll-free 866-646-8849 or 618-222-2900). Tickets
will not be sold at the Edward Jones Dome box office. … The game will be
televised here on tape delay, beginning at 10:30 p.m. Saturday on KTVI (Channel