BY JIM THOMAS
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stump Mitchell, a former Cardinals running back and currently head football coach at Southern University-Baton Rouge, interviewed for the Rams' running backs coach position Monday.

Mitchell, 52, met at Rams Park with coach Jeff Fisher and visited with members of the coaching staff. The visit went well, though it was uncertain Monday night if Mitchell has been offered the job.

League sources said Fisher could be interviewing another candidate or two for the position, which is one of the last remaining berths on Fisher's staff.

A Georgia native, Mitchell played with the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals from 1981-89. He ended his career with Kansas City in 1991, but didn't post any stats with the Chiefs because of knee problems.

A ninth-round pick by the Big Red out of The Citadel in 1981, Mitchell was a popular and productive player in St. Louis.

Undersized, at 5 feet 9 and 188 pounds, Mitchell rushed for a career high 1,006 yards for the Cardinals in 1985, and from '85 through '88 never totaled less than 726 yards.

A versatile player, Mitchell was an accomplished receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner, finishing with nearly 11,000 all-purpose yards and scoring 42 touchdowns. He even threw a 15-yard TD pass in 1986.

At the conclusion of his playing career, Mitchell was a head coach at the high school and college (Morgan State) levels in the 1990s before joining Mike Holmgren's inaugural staff in Seattle as running backs coach in 1999. He was with the Seahawks for eight seasons then joined Washington's staff as assistant head coach/running backs coach in 2008.

Mitchell is accustomed to working with high-profile backs in the NFL. In 11 seasons coaching running backs with Seattle and Washington, Mitchell coached 1,000-yard rushers on eight occasions: Ricky Watters twice, Shaun Alexander five times and Clinton Portis once.

Mitchell's career goal always has been to be a head coach, and after two seasons with the Redskins, he left the NFL for another try in college as the Southern coach in 2010.

But Mitchell might be on shaky ground in Baton Rouge. His two-year record is 6-16 at Southern, and the athletics director who hired him former Cardinals teammate Greg LeFleur no longer is with the school.

Franchise time

Monday marked the beginning of a two-week period in which teams can place the "franchise" designation on players scheduled for unrestricted free agency. The Rams have 20 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency, and aren't expected to use the designation this year.

The only Rams free agent that might even be considered for the franchise tag is wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Team sources say it isn't likely, but not impossible, that Lloyd will be tagged.