ST. LOUIS (AP) — First-round pick Robert Quinn was treated like just another rookie Friday night after his first full contact practice with the St. Louis Rams.
The defensive end had to carry five sets of shoulder pads off the field at the end of the session, along with an extra helmet, all courtesy of his fellow linemen, who forced him into the role of equipment runner.
Quinn says his teammates wanted to show him that he is “still a pup.”
But he’s an important pup, one that is expected to become an important part of the St. Louis defense.
The 6-foot-4-inch 265-pound Quinn was held out of any serious work during the first four practices while recovering from a knee injury suffered working out on his own in June. He signed a four-year contract on Saturday and was immediately placed on the Physically Unable To Perform list.
The former North Carolina standout was finally cut loose on Thursday and had his first contact work during Friday’s 2-hour, 45-minute practice.
“This was the first real hard practice, pushing off and everything and I felt great,” Quinn said. “I’m just trying to knock this rust off and get to playing some football.”
Quinn is working hard to get back into a football mindset. He was suspended during his junior season at North Carolina for receiving improper benefits.
St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo was happy to see Quinn out on the field Friday. He is also pleased with Quinn’s ability to grasp the Rams’ defensive schemes.
“He’s picking things up pretty well,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m fairly impressed with that part of him. This is not easy for young guys.”
Quinn took part in about a dozen plays during 11-on-11 drills. He also showed some quickness in drills with the defensive line.
The 21-year-old was a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a sophomore. He recorded a league-leading 19 tackles for losses and also had 11 sacks, good enough for second in the conference.
The inactivity due to the suspension didn’t seem to hurt Quinn’s value on draft day where he was the 14th overall selection.
Quinn, who is known for his strong pass-rushing skills, recently became a father. His son, Robert Quinn Jr., was born on Saturday.
Following Friday’s practice, Quinn wore an ear-to-ear grin despite being saddled with extra equipment. Fellow linemen James Hall, C.J. Ah You insisted he carry their pads to the locker room. Defense end Chris Long made Quinn carry his helmet.
“This probably won’t be the last time, I’ll be doing this,” Quinn said.
Notes: Cornerback Jerome Murphy suffered what Spagnuolo said could be a serious ankle injury on Friday. … Defensive tackle Fred Robbins left the practice with a sore knee. Tight end Mike Hoomanawanui and linebacker David Vobora left with concussion-like symptoms.
Copyright Associated Press