By Cedric Williams
In a move that had been rumored possible for almost a month, the St. Louis Rams announced on Tuesday that they had re-signed suspended linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, and that pending him passing a physical, he would be back with the club in time for practice Tuesday afternoon.
Dunbar, 28, was let go by the Rams last month — just before the 2013 season opener against the Arizona Cardinals — and was not signed by anyone else while he served a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s policy on using performance-enhancing drugs.
“He’s excited and we’re glad to have him,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said after Tuesday’s practice at Rams Park. “Good timing (because) we don’t know where (Dunbar’s replacement, Will Witherspoon’s) going to be this week. (Dunbar’s) been working out and he’s in good shape.”
Witherspoon left last Thursday’s loss to San Francisco with a hamstring injury, and did not practice on Tuesday.
Last season, the 6-foot, 226-pound Dunbar was second on the team with 157 tackles, while also registering 4 1/2 quarterback sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
He also provided a strong physical presence to a young defense lauded throughout the offseason as one of the league’s most improved.
This season, the Rams “D” has struggled in three consecutive losses, and has been especially soft against the run, giving up 219 yards on the ground to the 49ers on Thursday and 193 yards four days earlier in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
To make room for Dunbar, the Rams cut offensive lineman Max Starks, who signed with the club last month as an insurance policy after right tackle Rodger Saffold injured his knee in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons.
“We appreciate the effort,” Fisher said. “He was great to have in the locker room for a couple of weeks.”
Fisher also announced that St. Louis made several other roster moves on Tuesday, including re-signing wide receiver Emory Blake and cornerback Darren Woodson to the practice squad, and releasing fullback Eric Stevens.
The Rams also placed rookie safety T.J. McDonald on injured reserve with a lower leg fracture.
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.