THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In a Rams offseason with several departures, defensive tackle Marquise Copeland was one of the retainees.
Re-signing a one-year deal to return to the team last month, Copeland is grateful for the chance to be back with those teammates and coaches.
"It's just great to be here," Copeland said Monday as the Rams began their offseason program. "It's great to be around the guys again, great to be around my coach again."
Copeland's return eases some of the departures along the defensive line. Greg Gaines signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and A'Shawn Robinson currently remains a free agent, so Copeland is the next most-experienced player beyond Aaron Donald within the group.
That perspective dawned on him recently thinking about his own journey.
"I mean, it's definitely different," Copeland said. "I was just thinking about that the other day, coming in as an undrafted free agent, I was in the back of the line. Now, I'm one of the ones in the front of the line."
When injuries hit the defensive line last season, Copeland capitalized on the opportunities and posted career-highs of 31 total tackles, 15 games played and nine starts. He also registered his first career sack. Additionally, per truMedia, he recorded the fifth-most defensive stops (defined as tackles causing an unsuccessful play by the offense) among Rams defensive linemen in 2022 with 14.
Asked if he is thinking he'll play a certain position full time after doing a little bit of everything in previous seasons, Copeland indicated it would be dependent on the gameplan.
"So if they need me here or there, I'll play it," Copeland said. "That's one of the biggest parts of my game, just being versatile, so I can play anything."
Whatever his role entails this upcoming season, he's glad to be doing it with the only team he's played for to this point in his career.
"Going into the offseason, I just really went about it the same as last offseason," Copeland said of his offseason process and being re-signed by the team. "Just worked out every day, really tried not to think about outside-of-football-stuff too much. And then when it came, it was like, 'Alright, cool, let's keep going.'"