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Rams put brakes on Clayton ..
BY JIM THOMAS
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 12:20 am
Wide receiver Mark Clayton is sporting a new look — a Mohawk haircut. The reason? He finally has a right knee that feels as good as new.
"I like the Mohawk," Clayton said. "I think it's edgy. It's been a long time since I stepped on the field, so I got a little edge and chip built up."
When last seen in a Rams uniform, Clayton was writhing in pain along the left sidelines last Oct. 10 in Detroit. He was running a deep route on the Rams' fifth offensive play of their fifth game when his legs got tangled with Lions defensive back Alphonso Smith at the end of the play. Smith accidentally kicked Clayton's knee; the result was a ruptured patellar tendon and season-ending surgery.
Originally acquired in a Sept. 6, 2010 trade with Baltimore, Clayton got up to speed on the offense instantly. He caught 10 passes for 119 yards in the 2010 opener against Arizona, and entering that Detroit game was among the league leaders in catches (22), yards (300) and pass plays of 25 yards-plus (five).
There were times after the surgery when Clayton, 29, wondered if he'd ever get back on a football field. A ruptured patellar tendon, Clayton said, is "worse than tearing an ACL. The reason being, with a patellar tendon, you can't step down. You can't walk. There's no weight bearing for a while. So the quad and the muscle right about the kneecap just completely shut down and bottomed out. So I had to completely build that up from scratch."
The process was long, tedious and frustrating. And once the lockout began, Clayton couldn't have any contact with Rams head athletic trainer Reggie Scott and his staff, which probably slowed the rehab.
"It was like in the third month, fourth month, even into the fifth month (following surgery), the gain was so small that I was like, 'This ain't going to happen,' " Clayton said. "So it was long. And it sucked. And it hurt. I cried."
Suddenly, about six months into rehab, everything changed and he started progressing. Things progressed to the point where Clayton actually participated in the Rams' player-organized workouts in June in Phoenix. He also went to Oklahoma and had his fellow ex-Sooner, quarterback Sam Bradford, throw to him.
After re-signing with the Rams Aug. 31 (he was an unrestricted free agent), Clayton feels he's game ready. The team's medical staff obviously has other ideas, because Clayton was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. That makes him ineligible to play for a minimum of six weeks. One of those weeks, however, is the Rams' bye, so in theory Clayton could miss only five games.
"With guys like us that want to go hard and want to go strong, when we feel like we can (play) it takes smart, wise people to be like, 'Look, we're gonna hold you and let you get to the maximum,' " Clayton said.
Clayton has long passed the point where he has experienced any discomfort in the knee.
"It was probably about June when I went down to Arizona with the guys and got to run around with them, when kind of the swelling went away after workouts," Clayton said.
Trouble is, the muscles around the knee aren't to the point where they're as strong as they were before surgery. All of that time when Clayton couldn't put weight on the leg caused atrophy.
"You wouldn't be able to tell, but I still have some strengthening to do," he said. "I still have a little bit to gain. I call it my last little pop of explosion."
Clayton says he appreciates the loyalty of the Rams' organization for sticking with him through the long rehab process. And he can't wait to dig into the scheme of new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
As of Tuesday afternoon fewer than 800 tickets remained for the season opener Sunday against Philadelphia. Kickoff is noon at the Edward Jones Dome. Team officials say ticket sales have been brisk, so a sellout appears likely, which means the game would be televised locally. For ticket information, call 314-726-7849 or go to St. Louis Rams.
Two changes were made on the practice squad Tuesday. At cornerback, former Green Bay Packer Josh Gordy was added, with Tim Atchison released. At tight end, Ben Guidugli was signed and Central Missouri State product Demarco Cosby was released.
The Rams had street free agent C.J. Wilson in for a visit, but it was on a look-see basis with no contract offered. Wilson, a cornerback, was a seventh-round draft pick by Carolina in 2007
Re: Rams put brakes on Clayton ..Clayton said.......
"So it was long....
And it sucked.
And it hurt.
Umm, okay. Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Move along.
Re: Rams put brakes on Clayton ..
I'm still laughing..... Funny Hub, very funny.Restoration complete
Re: Rams put brakes on Clayton ..
LOL you're on fire HUb...gotta spread it around some more first.
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