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Rams’ Jalen Ramsey frustrated by repeated questions about impending contract extension

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey during a game.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, shown here during a game last season, walked out of a videoconference with reporters after fielding several questions about a contract extension. He eventually returned to the conference session.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

An impending contract extension expected to make him the highest-paid player at his position in NFL history is not on Jalen Ramsey’s mind.

The Rams’ star cornerback made that clear Tuesday during a videoconference with reporters that included Ramsey walking out after fielding several questions about the subject — and then returning to explain his exit.

“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I’m worried about football. I’m worried about other things in my life. Like, my blessings will come when they come. I’ve got all my trust in God.”

Ramsey, 25, joined the Rams last October after they gave the Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Ramsey, the fifth pick in the 2016 draft, is due to earn $13.7 million this season playing under a fifth-year option.

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The Rams made the midseason trade for the three-time Pro Bowl player without an extension in place, but team officials have expressed confidence a deal would get done. Ramsey had said he would report for training camp without a new contract, and he arrived in Thousand Oaks for COVID-19 testing last week.

The Los Angeles Rams announced Tuesday they are launching a scouting apprenticeship program to help minorities and women in the sport.

On Monday, Rams general manager Les Snead declined to offer specifics about the state of negotiations but expressed optimism and said the Rams had a good relationship with Ramsey’s agent, David Mulugheta.

Tuesday marked the second day of training camp team activities for the Rams during an acclimation phase that can include team meetings, conditioning drills without position coaches and a walkthrough.

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It also included a midday videoconference for Ramsey.

After fielding a few questions about how it felt to be back, building camaraderie with teammates and playing football during a pandemic, Ramsey was asked if it was important to him have a new contract done before the season opener.

“My agent and the front office, they’ll handle all that,” Ramsey said.

Asked if mentally, going into the season, it was important to him to have the security of an extension before he stepped onto the field for a game, Ramsey repeated that his agent and the Rams front office would handle it. Then he said, “Come on now, man … you’ve got to take the answer I give you, man.”

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When another reporter began that it was a fair question, Ramsey interrupted.

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey sits on the bench.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey wasn’t eager to talk to reporters Tuesday about his ongoing contract negotiations.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

“I answered it though,” he said. “ I said my agent and the front office, they are going to handle it. I’m worried about what I can worry about and controlling what I can control.

“I answered the question, I’m not going to continue answering it just because I’m not answering it the way you all want me to. Either accept the answer or keep it pushing. I don’t want to get disrespectful, but that’s the answer. Appreciate it.”

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Then he left.

Rams media officials coaxed Ramsey to return a few minutes later. Before taking more questions, Ramsey spoke for more than two minutes.

“When I answer a question, that’s the answer,” he said. “I understand you all want to ask me about my contract and stuff like that. I told you all at the beginning of this, I said, ‘I’m controlling what I can control. ... I’m not worried about it. I’m trying to do my job as a football player, I’m trying to be a leader on the team. I’m not going to do every Zoom session or however we’re going to do them this year talking about my contract.

A lawsuit alleges that unsafe conditions at the SoFi Stadium building site led to construction worker Juan Becerra’s death in a fall in June.

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“Look, if it comes, it comes. It’s going to be a surprise to me like it’s going to be a surprise to ya’ll. I called my agent up before August and I said I don’t even want him to call me about it. I literally told him. I said, ‘I want you to call me one time, when my deal is done. I said, ‘When you feel like my deal is done, call me.’ That’s it. ... We all have been on the same page from jump.”

The Rams have a recent history of announcing contract extensions a few days before season openers. In 2018, defensive lineman Aaron Donald agreed to a then-record $185-million deal. Last year, quarterback Jared Goff received a $134-million extension and tight end Tyler Higbee a $29 million deal.

The Rams open the season Sept. 13 against the Dallas Cowboys.


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