IRVINE, Calif. – The opportunity presented itself not long after the NFL Draft.
The Rams were interested in bringing running back Sony Michel back. It later worked out, as Los Angeles agreed to terms with him in late June.
As Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union gets underway, Michel is grateful to get a second opportunity with the team.
"I was just thankful for the opportunity," Michel told theRams.com after Thursday's training camp acclimation practice. "Right now, I'm trying to take advantage of it. Just trying to maximize every opportunity I get, no matter where it's at, (whether that's) offense, special teams. Whatever I can do to one, earn a spot on this team, and two, potentially help this team win some football games."
In his first stint with the Rams, Michel recorded 208 carries for 845 yards and four touchdowns, adding 21 receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown while playing in all 17 games in Los Angeles' Super Bowl LVI-winning 2021 season.
The bulk of that production came in what was a critical month of December for Los Angeles, as he rushed for 497 yards and three touchdowns across a five-game win streak that spanned Weeks 12-16.
Similar to the signing of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon this summer, Rams head coach Sean McVay said signing Michel was about adding veteran depth to a young position on the roster.
"I think he was as key and critical to what we did in '21 and probably didn't get the recognition especially when you think about how instrumental he was in the month of December when we really leaned on him and he was averaging about over a hundred a game," McVay said this week. "But his professionalism, his toughness, his ability to be able to compete in both phases and then I think he is a great compliment. You got a lot of confidence in Cam (Akers), and Kyren Williams is a guy that did a great job in the spring. Love what we have seen from Ronnie Rivers and Zach (Evans) is an intriguing rookie, but Sony's done it. He understands the standards and I think when you have some guys that are good compliments to the players that you already have in that room and then somebody that you are familiar with, that was a great opportunity for us to be able to bring him back. Excited for Sony and glad to have him back around."
Michel said the opportunity "means a lot" to him, while also reiterating the approach of working to earn his spot on the roster.
"It means that they think I can potentially be another piece of the puzzle on this team," Michel said. "For me, I just gotta maximize it. I just gotta put my head down and work, earn everything. Nothing's gonna be given. So that's kind of the mindset."
As for the leadership he can provide the group, Michel wants to do so by naturally being himself and setting an example. The young running backs on the roster likewise see him as someone they can lean on.
"It means a lot having Sony in the running back room," Akers said. "Just his presence, that leader presence. He's smart, he's a ball player and he's a leader. He's more like a big brother figure in that room. So it's great to have him back. I'm happy. I'm excited."