Rams Notes: Fisher keeping tabs on players off the field
The NFL offseason can sometimes lead to unfavorable story lines - but not if Jeff Fisher can help it
By BEN FREDERICKSONFS Midwest
ST. LOUIS -- The NFL offseason usually leads to some unfavorable story lines for teams, including everything from off-field injuries to suspensions and arrests. This year, the Rams appeared to have avoided any such trouble.
"We got together early in the offseason -- even before they came back -- and felt it was good to communicate with them," Fisher said. "In this day and age it's not hard to communicate with them. ... We've stayed pretty much in contact with them."
Fisher said the contact comes from his coaches to players through text message. Example: A simple reminder to be careful with fireworks and jet skis on the Fourth of July.
Rookie receiver Stedman Bailey also spoke on the issue:
"I'm a person that likes to watch ESPN, so I'm definitely seeing the different things that are going on," he said. "I kind of learn from their mistakes, thinking about the little mistakes they are making that get all of this media attention. ... I definitely don't want to bring any negative attention to this team. I try to stay focused, do everything smart and the right way so I don't get caught up in any bull crap."
Fisher approves of movement on HGH testing issue
Multiple reports published recently have said the NFL and the NFL Players Association are moving forward on testing players for human growth hormone, potentially for the 2013 season. Fisher said he approves.
"We're in the situation now where we are trying to make this game better," he said. "Any steps we can possibly take, regardless of what the issue is, in that direction is good. I'm hearing the NFL and Players Association are working in conjunction with that, which is good. I'm sure they've got some work to do. But it would be good to head down that path."
Barrett Jones not ready yet
Rams rookie offensive lineman Barrett Jones is almost ready for a return to the field but will have to wait just a wee bit longer. The former national champion from Alabama attended Monday's rookie workout -- the first of two all-rookie sessions that will lead into the start of the team's 2013 training camp on Thursday -- but did not fully participate.
"He's close," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said afterward. "But he's not quite ready."
Jones is in the final stages of recovery from a surgically repaired foot. Fisher estimated he should be cleared in a week.
Benny Cunningham -- an undrafted free agent running back out of Middle Tennessee State -- participated Monday, a sign the torn patella tendon he sustained last season is no longer an issue.
"He stayed back and worked with Reggie Scott [Rams head athletic trainer] and his staff the entire summer. He's gotten that thing put behind him now. We didn't have any reservations whatsoever, or we would have put him inactive [physically unable to perform list]. But he's been cleared to go."
Welcome back, Will
While it was in the works for a while, the Rams officially announced the addition of veteran linebacker Will Witherspoon on Monday. Witherspoon previously played with the Rams and also knows Fisher and members of his staff from a stint in Tennessee.
"We were just looking for experience there," Fisher said. "We lost a couple guys from last year. Spoon is familiar, obviously, with the organization. I have familiarity with him. ... He was out there and had a couple of opportunities. He chose to come join us. It's good to have him."
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org