The nervous waiting has commenced, for Rams players, coaches and executives, but for different reasons.
Players are hoping to avoid that dreaded tap on the shoulder and the long, painful walk to a meeting in which the news is broken, and they’ve been cut. For Coach Sean McVay and his staff, it’s a weekend full of glancing out the window with the hope that Aaron Donald’s car is pulling up.
Donald didn’t show up to the Rams’ practice facility Friday, so his contract holdout officially has entered a sixth week, and his ability to play in the Sept. 10 season opener is more unlikely by the hour.
McVay had expressed optimism — he used the word several times after Thursday’s preseason finale at Green Bay — that Donald would show up soon, but there’s no indication that Donald and the Rams are close on a new contract, nor that Donald has any intention of showing up until one is signed.
So it remains a stalemate. The Rams did not hold any media availability Friday, but Donald certainly will be the major topic of discussion when McVay meets with reporters Saturday.
By that point, the Rams will have finalized their 53-man season-opening roster. Cuts started Friday at the practice facility, as the Rams reduced their roster from its training-camp maximum of 90 players. Another 10 players can be added to a practice squad starting Sunday.
“It’s difficult,” McVay said Thursday night, “because you’re talking about people’s lives right here, and all these guys have done is continue to compete every single day. They have been a true joy to be around.
“I’ve really been impressed with the group as a whole, but anytime you’re going to have to let 37 guys go, that’s never a fun decision. But that’s a part of this business. There’s still a human element that you never lose sight of, and that’s never fun when you’re in this situation.”
The Rams didn’t announce or confirm Friday’s cuts, but players such as running back Aaron Green and receiver Paul McRoberts posted thinly veiled messages on social media that indicated they’d been cut.
If so, that’s good news for former USC running back Justin Davis, who entered camp as an undrafted free agent and an underdog to make the roster, but apparently Davis did enough to beat out Green for a spot as the Rams’ third running back behind Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown.
For others, the wait remains, with a strange mixture of nerves and calm.
Consider the case of offensive lineman Jake…