Rams Excited for Opportunities in L.A.

Posted Mar 4, 2016

The players learned about the logistics of moving to Los Angeles in the Rams' first team meeting since relocation to Southern California became official

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- With relocation to Los Angeles an ongoing process, the Rams met as a team for the first time since the return to Southern California became official on Friday morning. Head coach Jeff Fisher said the time served as a way to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the logistics of getting settled in the area.

“We wanted to wait until we had more information with respect to the offseason program, locations for training camp, and potential locations for the permanent facility, and to get all the players together for one meeting,” Fisher said. “And that’s what took place this morning,”

“We had probably 80 percent of our roster here today,” Fisher added. “When we announced the meeting probably a month or so ago, we had guys call [to say], ‘Well I’m on a cruise,’ or, ‘I’m at a wedding.’ And that’s OK. We’ll get the information to them. It was certainly not a mandatory meeting.”

As things stand in early March, there isn’t necessarily much going on at team headquarters from a player standpoint. And the rules of the collective bargaining agreement preclude teams from meeting until mid-April. But these were special circumstances.

“It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the effort of the management council and the players’ association because these things are not permissible prior to the offseason program,” Fisher said. “So we had numerous discussions with them, they were both represented in the meeting, and I thought we got a lot accomplished.”

One of the most significant pieces of news the players learned was where the team will hold its offseason program. The Rams will occupy the Cowboys’ facility northwest of L.A. in Oxnard starting in April, but will vacate it after the end of OTAs in June, as Dallas comes in for training camp.

“It’s an ideal situation for us. The Cowboys have been very cooperative. We’re going to upgrade that facility along with them, because they’re coming back for camp,” Fisher said. “We’re looking at the UC Irvine facility for training camp. And that’s looking good, we just haven’t nailed down our temporary facility [for the regular season].”

As for the players themselves, defensive tackle Aaron Donald said the Friday morning meeting was worthwhile for a number of reasons.

“It’s just good to be here and to finally hear from coach on everything so we could all get on the same page as far as knowing what to expect, where we’re going to be, and everything like that,” Donald said. “We’ve got a good idea of where we’re going to be at and things like that because a lot of us have to move our families out here as well.”

Punter Johnny Hekker noted that for family members, the transition can be bittersweet.

“They’re a little bit sad to be leaving what’s familiar. But I think the sunshine and sandy beaches aren’t too bad to have waiting ahead of you. So I think people are excited about that,” Hekker said.

This kind of transition can be difficult for any team to go through, but Fisher said the close-knit nature of the Rams may help the squad rally to success.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time together, you know? We’ve got a lot to get through. But this is a unique team,” Fisher said. “It’s a great locker room. They’re going to pull for each other, they’re going to help each other. And so I think as we move through this process and look to get settled, we can use this to our advantage.”

“it’s definitely going to be a team-building experience,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “Everybody is going to have to become closer now because nobody knows what’s going to happen from here to there. Everybody’s going into a new experience.”

And that feeds into the optimism the entire team is feeling when it comes to returning the Rams to Los Angeles.

“This is an incredible opportunity for everyone on the team and our families,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “So I don’t think any of us look at it as problems. Maybe some slight inconveniences with moving and different things. But the team has done a great job of handling a lot of that stuff for us. The league has done a great job and we’re all excited.”