Rams pick rookie Sam Sloman to fill the shoes of their longtime placekicker
Of the three players vying to succeed Greg Zuerlein as the Rams’ kicker, Sam Sloman boasted the least experience.
Lirim Hajrullahu had made a championship-winning field goal during six seasons in the Canadian Football League. Austin MacGinnis performed well in the Alliance of American Football and the XFL.
Sloman, a seventh-round draft pick, was fresh out of Miami (Ohio) — coach Sean McVay’s alma mater — where he made 26 of 30 field-goal attempts last season.
On Friday, after competing in the most hotly contested position battle in training camp, Hajrullahu and MacGinnis were among 17 players waived by the Rams as they trimmed their roster from 80 players to 63. More cuts — and perhaps signings — are coming as NFL teams work to set rosters at 53 players by Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT.
Teams can sign as many as 16 players to the practice squad.
SoFi Stadium, the NFL’s crown jewel, was the the culmination of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s vision and the NFL’s desire to return to the L.A. market.
Running back John Kelly and offensive lineman Jamil Demby, sixth-round draft picks in 2018, were among others cut by the Rams, who open the season against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 13 at SoFi Stadium. Kelly spent most of last season on the practice squad. Demby played in six games, starting one.
The Rams cut ties with Zuerlein after eight seasons. Two seasons ago, in the NFC championship game, Zuerlein kicked a game-winning, 57-yard field goal that sent the Rams to the Super Bowl. Last season, he made 24 of 33 field-goal attempts.
“Greg Zuerlein was a lot of fun to watch, I love watching him kick the ball,” Sloman said the day he was drafted. “So, I think it’s pretty cool to get the opportunity to try to follow in his footsteps.”
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McVay and new special teams coordinator John Bonamego had Sloman, Hajrullahu and MacGinnis take consecutive reps during practices at the team’s Thousand Oaks training facility and during a scrimmage and mock game at SoFi Stadium.
Other players waived Friday were: receivers Earnest Edwards, J.J. Koski and Easop Winston; tight end Kendall Blanton, offensive linemen Cohl Cabral and Jeremiah Kolone; linebackers Daniel Bituli and Derrick Moncrief; and defensive backs Adonis Alexander, Jake Gervase, Juju Hughes, Dayan Lake and Tyrique McGhee.
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