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Van Jefferson working to become "all-around player" heading into third NFL season

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Van Jefferson had little time to celebrate the Rams' Super Bowl victory, but for a good reason.

The Rams wide receiver had been on the field taking in the postgame festivities with his two other children when Rams Vice President of Corporate Affairs Joanna Hunter told him his wife, Samaria, was going into labor.

Off the field he quickly went to try to get to the hospital.

While he didn't up making it there in time to watch the birth of his son, Champ, he still was able to view it through FaceTime.

"It was a crazy experience, but it worked out perfect," Jefferson said during a video conference Thursday. "My wife was saying the whole time, 'I know the baby's going to come on the Super Bowl,' and I was like, 'Eh, I don't think so.' But she was right."

A little over three months after that eventful start to the offseason, Jefferson is gearing up for an important third NFL season working to become an "all-around player."

In 2021, Jefferson posted 50 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns, more than doubling the number of catches and more than tripling his receiving yards and touchdowns he had as a rookie.

Within that big leap in production came an emergence of being a dependable deep threat, capable of connecting with quarterback Matthew Stafford on explosive pass plays. In his first season, Jefferson's longest reception went for 31 yards; in his second season, he caught a 67-yard touchdown in the Rams' season-opening win over the Bears and had six catches of at least 31 yards, including a long of 79.

"Whatever role that they want me to play, that's role I'm going to do, whatever I can do to help the team win," Jefferson said. "Last year was just a role that I was suited with, and I tried to just do it to the best of my ability and it worked out. But this year, whatever role they want me to play, I'm going to execute that to the best of my ability. So that's kind of my mindset on that."

Successful as the 2021 season, there were also times last season when Jefferson spoke about internalizing feelings from when he didn't have his best game and he was figuring out how to use at as motivation instead. For him, that process involves correcting mistakes, watching film and looking at the bad plays, plus being sound mentally and physically.

"Just taking time off, being with family and having a debrief, and just re-energizing pretty much," Jefferson said. "Just coming into this season with a new mindset and be ready for the task at hand. Last season was the last season, this is a whole new season, so I'm just trying to suit up and get ready to play again."

Now that the offseason isn't quite moving the speed of welcoming a new addition to the family after the Super Bowl, things have slowed down a bit as Jefferson gets back into the offseason grind while caring for a newborn son.

He said he and Samaria have had help from the grandparents, in that regard, but it still serves as the source for one other offseason goal.

"Only thing I'm trying to do now is get some sleep," Jefferson said with a smile.

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