Throughout the season, The Times examines some of the behind-the-scenes jobs associated with the Rams:
Adam Mirghanbari is among the first to step on the Rams’ practice field every day and he’s typically the last to leave.
Mirghanbari — known around the team’s facility in Thousand Oaks as “Merg” — runs the Jugs machine, a football passing mechanism, 30 minutes before the official start of practice and again after the workout … until the last player says that he’s had enough.
“He’s out there getting guys ready to go before practice, giving high fives and it’s awesome,” tight end Cory Harkey said.
Said running back Chase Reynolds: “He’s out there every day and night, before and after practice and he’s just kind of the guy that stuck around and has done everything he could.”
Between running the Jugs, Mirghanbari runs the chains, holding down markers throughout the workout. On game day, he’s running footballs to the referees.
“My scene is off the charts. I don’t even know if I could explain it to you because this is my surrealness,” Mirghanbari said. “There is nothing real about this to me at all because I’m having a blast.”
Officially, Mirghanbari operates under the equipment department.
Unofficially, he’s the Rams’ biggest fan.
It started in 1966, when he was 3 and his father took him to his first Los Angeles Rams game at the Coliseum. “That’s where I got this emotional connection between me and my father and this team,” Mirghanbari said.
The connection ran so deep that Mirghanbari was torn when his father was transferred to work in Chicago in 1969. He lived there for 30 years and continued to root only for the Rams.
Mirghanbari was crushed when he learned the team would move from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995, until he realized St. Louis was a mere five-hour drive away.
The Rams took notice of Mirghanbari’s habitual practice attendance in St. Louis and offered him some duties. He hasn’t left the team since. Twenty-one years later, the Rams moved back to L.A. and Mirghanbari, who still owns a pizzeria in St. Louis, moved with them.
“These people here are my friends and family, from the players to the coaches, all the people in the equipment department,” Mirghanbari said. “That’s a huge part of why I do this.”
Said Harkey: “Merg is awesome. We all love Merg.”
Follow Lindsey Thiry on Twitter @LindseyThiry