By Cedric Williams
Backup running back Isaiah Pead was “back in the building,” according to Rams head coach Jeff Fisher on Monday, and will be back at practice on Wednesday after serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Pead, a second-round selection by the Rams in the 2012 NFL Draft, was one of the players Fisher was counting on to help replace Steven Jackson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards for St. Louis for the eighth straight season last year, but then signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent this season.
In his rookie season, Pead lost the primary backup RB job to Daryl Richardson, who then won the starter’s job during training camp this season, making Pead now the primary backup.
That’s if he even plays on Sunday.
When Fisher was asked about Pead at his Monday press conference at the Rams Park training facility in Earth City, the St. Louis head coach simply said, “We’ll see.”
As a rookie, Pead was used sparingly out of the backfield, with the workhorse Jackson getting most of the touches, and then Richardson getting most of the ones that didn’t go to Jackson.
Pead finished the year with 54 rushing yards, three receptions for 16 yards, and 212 yards on 10 kickoff returns.
During the preseason this year, the Rams looked to get Richardson as much rest as possible so he’d be ready for the regular season, which meant Pead got most of the starter’s carries in August and finished the preseason with 86 yards on 26 carries (a 3.3 yards per carry average), along with three catches for 26 yards, and 102 yards on five kickoff returns.
In order to make room for Pead on the 53-man roster, St. Louis will have to move one player off by trade or by waivers.
Reynolds Finally Gets His Chance
The player most likely to go in order to make room for Pead’s return is third-year RB Chase Reynolds.
A true NFL underdog story, Reynolds played eight-man football in high school and then starred at the University of Montana before spending the last two seasons on the Rams’ practice squad.
On Sunday, the 6-foot, 205-pounder finally got to play in an actual NFL regular season game, appearing on several of the Rams special teams units and registering one tackle on an Arizona kickoff return early in the fourth quarter.
“It was exciting to be out there and be part of something on Sunday that was two years in the making,” Reynolds said. “Took a minute to take a good look around. For me, it’s work every day because there’s no telling how long it’ll last. As coach said in the locker room, it’s hard to make this team, but it’s harder to stay on.”
When asked if he was concerned about his place on the team once Pead’s return became official, Reynolds said, “I can’t worry about that. I just have to keep grinding, to do what I gotta do. If it happens, I’ll deal with it and if it doesn’t, I’ll treat it as a blessing and I’ll keep fighting and hopefully secure my spot… With anything in life, there comes a point when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder if it’s worth it. Today, it was worth it. It was awesome.’’
For more Rams news and updates, visit Rams Central.
Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at email@example.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.