Rumors flattering, but Schottenheimer says he likes it here

18 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

It’s that time of the year. Brian Schottenheimer’s name was mentioned as a potential head-coaching candidate during last Sunday’s telecast of the Rams-Vikings game.

Schottenheimer, in his first season as Rams offensive coordinator, was flattered by the mention but insists he’s very happy in St. Louis.

“At the end of the day I think I have a great job,” Schottenheimer said. “I work for a great organization. I know I work with the best head coach in the National Football League in Coach (Jeff) Fisher. Got a really young football team that’s building something special, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it ... and hope to be here for a long time.”

Schottenheimer, who was offensive coordinator of the New York Jets the previous six seasons, interviewed for the Jacksonville head-coaching job last offseason, which went to Mike Mularkey.

“I’ve had my name talked about before in the past, and probably there were times where I was really maybe excited if something would happen,” he said. “Again, I love it here.”

Fisher wasn’t surprised to hear the Schottenheimer speculation.

“Well, first off I know Brian’s ready,” Fisher said. “He’s ready to handle the job and he’s capable. I think he’d do a great job at it. Certainly, he’s been around the game for a long time. He’s got a great pedigree, and this is the time of the year when people start throwing names out there.”

If Schottenheimer left, would quarterback Sam Bradford be forced to learn his fourth offensive system in four seasons?

“The system will not change,” Fisher said. “The system will stay the same.”

INJURY UPDATE

Only two players missed practice Thursday for the Rams — cornerback Cortland Finnegan (thigh) and running back Steven Jackson (illness).

Jackson was among three players sent home Wednesday with a virus. The others, defensive end Robert Quinn and cornerback Bradley Fletcher, returned to practice Thursday and were full participation. Although he didn’t practice, Jackson warmed up with the team and watched all of practice, which was held indoors at Rams Park because of the weather.

Linebacker James Laurinaitis (back) and center Scott Wells (knee) had limited participation Thursday after being held out of practice Wednesday.

RAM-BLINGS

Jackson and Laurinaitis were named Rams winners of the NFL Players Association’s PULSE Award for community service. As such, they are candidates for the NFLPA’s league-wide Byron “Whizzer” White Award for community service.

• DT Gary Gibson, who played for the Rams from 2009-11, has 14 tackles and a fumble recovery as a Bucs backup. The Tampa Bay coaching staff includes assistant offensive line coach Steve Loney, who was with the Rams from 2008-11. Bucs DE Adrian Clayborn, who is from Webster Groves High, was placed on injured reserve Sept. 24 with a knee injury.