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Rams linebacker Mark Barron might finally return Sunday to face Seattle

Rams linebacker Mark Barron might finally return Sunday to face Seattle
Rams linebacker Mark Barron intercepts a pass by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott pass with teammate Nickell Robey-Coleman nearby at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

He’s been antsy to play since the start of the season.

On Sunday at Seattle, Rams linebacker Mark Barron finally might get the chance.

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Barron, sidelined throughout training camp and the first four weeks of the season because of an Achilles issue, is practicing this week. If he suffers no setbacks, he could start against the Seahawks, coach Sean McVay said Wednesday.

“We’ve kind of got a plan in place that we're anticipating him being able to go,” McVay said before practice. “That’s subject to change based on how he responds, but he’s feeling good up to this point.”

Said Barron, who was listed as limited on the injury report: “I most definitely feel like I’m on track.”

The return of a physically sound Barron could bolster a defense that recorded a Week 2 shutout against the Arizona Cardinals and has helped the Rams to a 4-0 start.

During the offseason, the Rams remade their defense to better fit what coordinator Wade Phillips desired for his hybrid 3-4 scheme. They traded linebackers Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, but would not part with Barron, who intercepted three passes in 2017.

Barron, 28, had shoulder and Achilles surgeries after the season. He was held out of offseason workouts and training camp so that he would be ready for the opener, but he suffered a setback on the eve of the season.

Ramik Wilson, signed during the offseason, has started in Barron’s place for a defense that has given up 16.8 points per game.

“They’ve played pretty good,” Barron said of Wilson and others who have played inside linebacker next to Cory Littleton. “We’re 4-0, and they are getting the job done.”

Barron would make the defense even stronger, Littleton said.

“He’s got years of experience and a lot of knowledge,” Littleton said. “He’s a playmaker.”

Barron’s future with the Rams beyond this season is a question mark.

He went into the offseason with a salary-cap number of $10 million. But he and linebacker Matt Longacre agreed to restructure their contracts before the season.

Barron’s salary was reduced by $500,000 in exchange for having more of his base salary guaranteed and nearly $2 million available as a roster bonus, according to overthecap.com. The lost salary could be earned back in incentives, the website said.

Barron, of course, must play to earn the incentives.

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Whenever he returns to the lineup, he said he would be prepared for the physical stresses.

“That comes naturally,” he said. “I’m not even worried about that part at all.”

Kick start

New kicker Cairo Santos made it clear: He’s not out to take Greg Zuerlein’s job.

The Rams signed Santos on Tuesday to replace Sam Ficken as a fill-in while Zuerlein recovers from a groin injury.

“I’m rooting for Greg to be out there again,” Santos said. “I’ve been in his situation, I’ve been in Sam’s situation, so I feel for those guys. And I just want to come out here and, hopefully, step into the same caliber that Greg can perform for this team. … I just want to come in and do my part, my job and move on.”

Santos, 26, made 90 of 107 field goal attempts during three-plus seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and part of last season with the Chicago Bears. He was released by the New York Jets during training camp.

“He's a guy that's had a lot of success in this league, experience kicking in big games,” McVay said, “and that was really kind of what went into that decision."

Santos is eager to show NFL teams that he is fully recovered from groin issues that affected his performance last season with the Chiefs and during training camp with the Jets.

“Hopefully, I’ll get a bunch of kicks and show the other 31 teams I’m back and I belong in this league,” he said.

Nice catch

Receiver Robert Woods praised police for quickly apprehending and arresting four people allegedly responsible for burglaries at his and other celebrities’ homes.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Tyress Lavon Williams, 19, with four burglaries, including one that occurred at a Woodland Hills home owned by Woods last Thursday, when the Rams were playing the Vikings at the Coliseum.

“Happy nobody got hurt,” Woods said, “and the next thing is just trying to just move forward.

“It’s an unfortunate event. It happened, you see athletes are being targeted. I guess this is L.A. territory.”

Woods said he felt a sense of relief.

“The biggest thing is just get these guys off the street, and just bring some comfort back to everybody,” he said.

Etc.

Running back Todd Gurley (not injury related), defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh (not injury related), tight end Tyler Higbee (knee) and offensive lineman Rodger Saffold (knee) did not practice, according to the injury report.

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