Rams Wells back after busy offseason
AUG 30, 2012 10:57a ET
After signing a four-year, $24 million contract with the St. Louis Rams, the former Green Bay Packers center had knee surgery that kept him from most of the team's activities.
While rehabbing, Wells and his wife recently completed the adoption of three orphans from Uganda, a process that took nearly 18 months.
As they prepare for their final preseason game Thursday night against Baltimore, Wells is settling into his new role. He made his Rams debut last week and is expected to see more time against the Ravens on Thursday night.
"It's going well," he said. "I'm enjoying the guys, really enjoying actually being out here practicing and not watching anymore."
Only once in his career had he missed as much as two weeks with an injury. It also came during a preseason with the Packers.
Though he was held out of contact drills, Wells participated in walkthroughs and team meetings with the Rams. He said it proved essential in forming a bond with the other linemen and quarterback Sam Bradford.
Cohesiveness might be vital for the Rams. They gave up a league-high 55 sacks and tied with Seattle with a league-worst 114 quarterback hits last year. Bradford missed six games with a high left ankle sprain.
That was a motivation in signing Wells, expected to anchor a radically changed offensive line.
"It's his experience," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He understands things, learned the offense very quickly, makes all the calls and makes them correctly all the time. He anticipates things and he works very closely with the quarterback as he did up there in Green Bay."
Wells said signing with the Rams made sense professionally and personally.
He grew up in Nashville, Tenn. - he still has a home there - and followed Fisher's career during his 16 seasons as the Titans' head coach. Wells said the opportunity to play for Fisher, entering his first season in St. Louis, was a key to his decision.
"I always wanted an opportunity to play for him," Wells said. "When he decided to come back and coach, I was definitely interested if that was an option. I had a great career in Green Bay. I have lot of respect for those people and a lot of friends on that team still. That organization is still very dear to me, but I'm excited about this new opportunity, here."
Wells also likes the six-hour drive home in contrast with a trip nearly twice as long from Green Bay. His newly enlarged family will join him this week and set up base in St. Louis for the season before returning to Nashville in the offseason.
The three children he and his wife, Julie, adopted are 5, 3 and 2, and join three biological children who are 8, 5 and 2.
"It's going really well," he said. "My other three children have really taken to them, which was a concern initially to see how they'd interact. And they've really hit it off. My wife tells me everything's going smooth. There's of course natural hiccups along the way that come with adopting children. But, again, so far the acclimation has been smooth."
Much like it has been for Wells and the Rams.