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Where Are They Now? Rams Legend running back Chase Reynolds

A little over 2,100 miles separate the Space Needle in Seattle and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the trip between the two places was life changing for Chase Reynolds.

An undrafted free agent running back from Montana, Reynolds signed with the Seahawks in 2011 and was waived less than two weeks later. But what would have been a brief sojourn in the Pacific Northwest became a second chance in America's Heartland thanks to a phone call from the Rams.

"They basically called me and said, 'Hey, you available? Get on a plane,'" Reynolds said. "I didn't know what to expect, but I flew down there and went to practice. Actually, I didn't even have to have a tryout. They just signed me to the team. It was kind of full go once I hit the ground.

"The first (preseason) game, I was strictly on kick return, and it finally came down to the last game (in Jacksonville), and I thought, 'I've only had a handful of kick returns and haven't done superb, so there's no way I'm going to get signed to this team.'

"And then the last four minutes, they gave me one drive on offense. I just put my head down and ran as hard as I could, and got us down in the end zone. Coach (Joe) Spagnuolo called me out after the game and said he loved my heart and determination. I didn't even know he knew my first name. So that was pretty exciting."

Running back (34) Chase Reynolds of the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots during the Rams 10-26 loss to the Patriots in an NFL Week 13 game, Sunday, December 4, 2016, in Foxboro, MA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

Exciting, yes, but Reynolds would soon experience the ups and downs of being cut, re-signed, cut, and re-signed again.

"The first year, I want to say I was cut five times. I was on a week, off a week. There was a whole month where I didn't even know if I was going to be back," Reynolds said. "My wife and I sat down and made a decision that if we didn't have a call by a certain day, we were going to call it quits and just walk with our heads held high. And that morning, I was walking to literally grab the handle of the door to go get (packing) boxes, and I got a call from the Rams to come back on the practice squad."

Reynold's on-again, off-again 2011 season on the practice squad became more stable the following year when he spent the whole season on it. Granted, he wasn't playing in any games that counted, but he kept his eyes and mind open by watching the Rams' best running back, and preparing for when or if he'd be given the nod.

"Steven Jackson was just an absolute professional on and off the field," Reynolds said. "He was a guy that was kind of an All-American and I was just some kid from some small town coming in there. But he sat and watched film with me. And I just watched him and the way he took care of himself and everything. He was a guy that I attached to and tried to learn a lot from."

While there's no drawbacks in learning what it takes to be in the NFL from the team's all-time leading rusher, spending week after week on the practice squad and not suiting up on game days could peg the needle on the frustration meter.

"It wasn't a lack of hard work, and that's the hardest part. I knew that I was ready. I knew I had what it took to play at that level. It's just finding that right spark and finding a niche where you can fit in, and I bided my time as a special teams guy," Reynolds said.

"The more you can do was kind of always my model. I was the type of guy who could play six or seven positions. If a punter went down, I could punt. If the kicker went down, I could kick. Just being ready all the time. I felt that on a 53-man roster, not a lot of guys can do multiple positions. I was just trying to always be that guy."

The day to be "that guy" came at the end of the 2013 training camp as the Rams were preparing for their season opener against Arizona.

"I was kind of up in the air," Reynolds said. "Coach Bones, John Fassel, who was my special teams coach, he loved my work ethic. He said I'm a guy that I want on my special teams unit. Obviously, there's a whole nother side of things on the offensive side and all that. So I just worked with him and studied film.

"And actually, I was in his room when Jeff Fisher walked in. He's talking to Coach Fassel about some things and goes to walk out, turns back around, and says, 'Hey, by the way, Chase, congratulations. You made the 53-man roster.' And I was like, 'Alright, that's cool.'

"And as soon as he walked out, I was overjoyed. Bones, I just gave him a great big hug. That moment was pretty special. I owe it to him for putting all that faith in me. Just working hard with me and teaching me technique and sticking with me."

The duo would stick together for three more seasons in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Proving to be a standout on special teams, including when he had a unit-leading 19 tackles in 2014, what are among Reynold's fondest memories from his six years with the Rams?

"I guess the best moment for me really was when I made the active roster," he said. "But every day was still a struggle. In the NFL, it's not you make a roster and you're good to go and play the season and have fun. It's a daily grind. It's a weekly grind. There's a lot of movement every week. Some guys are there for one week. Some guys are there for three weeks. You work so hard and you make the team, and that's not the end of it. You have a whole nother expectation level. I've made the team. How do I stay on the team?

"And I guess another moment for me was my second year when we were playing at Kansas City in Arrowhead Stadium. That stadium was rocking. It was loud. And I thought, 'This is the first time in my life I really looked around and not just had my head down scratching and clawing for every inch.' I remember telling myself, 'Gosh, enjoy this. You've worked so hard to get here, try to enjoy the moment.'"


Reynolds is enjoying his post-playing life in Missoula, MT, with his wife, Kila, and their children: Talen, who is following his dad's footsteps to the University of Montana, where he'll be a freshman running back this fall; Peyton and Tenley.

And he still practices the same more-you-can-do mentality today that he demonstrated as a player.

"A bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. I run a construction business. I do some dirt work on the side. I sell real estate. I've got some development projects going here in Missoula. We run a short-term, long-term rental property management company. And then my wife currently is opening up a Drybar, which is a professional blowout service salon," Reynolds said.

"And I coach high school football and my daughter Peyton's basketball travel team. So I try to stay involved in the sports world. I love giving back to the community. I grew up in a small town (Drummond, MT) and played 8-man football. I just want to encourage these kids that if you have an opportunity, and you plan, you work hard, persevere, if you have a dream, and you have the ability and the work ethic to go get it, there's nothing out there that's not doable."

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