By Cedric Williams
The NFL announced its AFC and NFC Pro Bowl teams on Tuesday, and two members of the St. Louis Rams were among those honored, as defensive end Robert Quinn and defensive tackle Aaron Donald were selected to play in the league’s annual postseason All-Star game.
The Pro Bowl will be played on January 25, 2015, (the Sunday in between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl), and it will be played at the same location as the Super Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Quinn, who leads the Rams with 10 1/2 sacks this season — his third straight year with double-digit sacks — was named to the Pro Bowl roster for the second time in his career and second straight year.
Donald, who was picked 13th overall as the second of St. Louis’ two first-round picks in last spring’s NFL Draft, is the first Rams rookie to earn a spot on the Pro Bowl team since running back Jerome Bettis was selected in 1993.
The former University of Pittsburgh standout, who was named the national college defensive player of the year last season, leads all NFL rookies with eight sacks and ranks fifth in that category among all NFL interior defensive linemen.
Donald also has 17 tackles for loss this season, which is the most by any defensive tackle in the league since the NFL began tracking that stat in 1997.
Two other Rams, kick returner Tavon Austin and defensive back Janoris Jenkins, were selected as Pro Bowl alternates.
The last Rams offensive player selected for the Pro Bowl was running back Steven Jackson in 2010.
CB E.J. Gaines doing better since scary injury
Another bit of good news the Rams got on Tuesday was the return of cornerback E.J. Gaines, who left Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, after suffering a concussion and lacerated lip following a scary looking hit from teammate T.J. McDonald.
On the play, Gaines was in coverage against a New York defender and dove to make a play on the ball, when he suffered a severe “friendly fire” hit from McDonald, who had dove himself in an attempt to deliver a blow the Giant pass receiver.
Gaines had his head knocked back and his helmet knocked completely off on play, then laid on the turf for several minutes after the hit before making an attempt to walk off the field on his own.
The former Mizzou standout and Rams rookie only made it a couple of steps before he had to stop to gather himself, which triggered the Rams training staff to call for the motorized cart to help Gaines back to the locker room where he could be evaluated.
Gaines was conscious and waved to the crowd and gave a thumbs up before he left the field of play, but he did not return to the game. He will go through the full team concussion protocol before he will be allowed to play in Sunday’s season finale against the Seattle Seahawks.
“He was better,” head coach Jeff Fisher said following Tuesday’s brief team workout. “He was out here at practice today.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can be found on Examiner.com.