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  1. #1
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    Mark Clayton Returns To The Rams

    Mark Clayton returns to the Rams

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Mark Clayton set the bar pretty high last season. Acquired in a trade with Baltimore on Sept. 6, 2010, Clayton was in the starting lineup for the Rams six days later, and playing in a new offensive scheme at that. He caught 10 passes for 119 yards in the season opener against Arizona.

    It was some debut. He very well could make his 2011 Rams debut Sunday in Dallas. Should we expect the same from the veteran wide receiver?

    "I expect the same thing and more," Clayton said, laughing. "There's always room for improvement. I love the challenge. As an athlete, you love challenges. So this is a great challenge, and I'm excited about it."

    Adding to the excitement is the fact that Clayton is from the Dallas area. He grew up in Arlington, which is where Cowboys Stadium sits. Jerry Jones' colossus of a stadium is basically "right around the corner," Clayton says, from where he grew up. So, Clayton has been besieged with about a million ticket requests for Sunday's 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

    "A million and two, actually," Clayton joked.

    The long rehab from knee surgery finally is over for Clayton. He's off the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, and today marks his first practice since suffering the injury on Oct. 10, 2010, against Detroit.

    "It's been a complete year since I've done anything team-oriented and practice-wise," Clayton said. "I'll feel like a college freshman kind of coming back in and getting started with everything again."

    So, does Clayton expect to play Sunday?

    "I do," he said. "I've been sitting around in the meetings with the offense, and I've got a really good grasp on that. So, I don't think that will be an issue."

    Health-wise, Clayton is confident that the knee is fine.

    "I'm fast, explosive, quick, sudden ó like all that," he said.

    As for being in football shape? That could be another matter.

    "Physically, it's go practice and see what comes from that," he said. "We'll go Wednesday and see how we are after that. And put another day on top of that, and depending on how the week goes that'll determine whether or not I'm good enough to play."

    Realistically, it's almost normal to expect some swelling or mini-setbacks on a surgically repaired knee once a player starts practicing on a regular basis. So, there's no guarantee Clayton will be given the green light right away.

    Players who come off the PUP list have a three-week window to practice in which they don't count against the 53-man roster. But if the Rams decide Clayton is game ready, he can be placed on the active roster at any time over that three-week period. Once that happens, they have to create a roster space for Clayton by releasing someone.

    In addition to Clayton, cornerback Marquis Johnson is off the PUP list and begins practicing today as well. Johnson is coming off shoulder surgery and microfracture knee surgery.

    "I feel good," Johnson said. "Gotta go out there and do what I've been taught since I was a little kid. Go out there and have fun. I just want to help the team wherever. On special teams. I'll play quarterback on the scout team."

    It may take the full three weeks for Johnson to be game ready. He's basically a rookie, still new to the ways of the NFL. A seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2010, Johnson was on the practice squad for two weeks last season, played two games in a reserve role (registering two tackles), but then went on injured reserve Oct. 5, 2010.

    "Going through the injury, it's hard to come back," Johnson said. "But at the same time, you have to keep your head on straight and thank God and stay tough mentally. So when you get out there, you can still have some of those instincts, some of those feelings, that will lead you to be successful."

    Johnson's playing weight was listed as 205 last season; it "ballooned" to 216 following the surgeries, prompting his teammates to dub him Fat Corner.

    "They always made fun of me," Johnson said.

    Fat Corner no more, Johnson returns to the practice field at 199 pounds, and probably in the best shape of his life.

    Johnson and Clayton felt like they've been game ready for a few weeks. With one a corner and the other a receiver, they've worked against each other in drills and simulated practices.

    "That was a huge blessing to have a cornerback (to work against)," Clayton said. "Not just a cornerback, but Marquis is a young, good cornerback who understands the game mentally really well at his age.

    "So to be able to work with him and kind of go back and forth and talk through some things, and him being able to physically put it together and cover me and challenge me, that's been a really huge part of this six weeks work (on the PUP list)."

    Starting today, it would be in practice with the rest of the team.

    Practice squad move

    The Rams added receiver Kristopher Adams to the practice squad, with cornerback Nate Ness released from the practice squad. Adams worked out at Rams Park on Tuesday along with receiver David Anderson and cornerback Brian Williams, neither of whom were signed.

  2. #2
    AlphaRam Guest

    Re: Mark Clayton Returns To The Rams

    I am hoping for the best for both guys.

  3. #3
    Ram Mar Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Mark Clayton Returns To The Rams

    Heres hoping to a mid-season re ju-venation of the Rams, some fresh blood could be just what the doctor ordered.

  4. #4
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    Re: Mark Clayton Returns To The Rams

    Could we? Nah...wait, could we? I don't know? Possibly? Pull off the upset of the week over the Cowpokes? Sure why not? I'm feeling it!

    GO RAMS!

  5. #5
    sosa39rams's Avatar
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    Re: Mark Clayton Returns To The Rams

    I really like Clayton. He's good because he focuses on fundamentals. Maybe he should teach that to some other guys on the team with all the penalties and drops.

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