Short commute: Rams sign former Mizzou standout Moe

After a very good career at Mizzou, T.J. Moe was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent but suffered an early injury that sidelined him last season.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — T.J. Moe passed on an opportunity to begin his NFL career with his hometown St. Louis Rams a year ago, but he’ll get another chance after signing with the club on Monday following a workout.

The former University of Missouri standout receiver, who played high school football at nearby Fort Zumwalt West High School in O’Fallon, Mo., opted last April to sign as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots, instead of the Rams.

"I screwed up," Moe said of that decision. "I should’ve just gone with them, but I didn’t. Really, they drafted some receivers and stuff like that. It could have been a good fit in New England, but with the way things worked out I think the Rams would have taken care of me better than the Patriots did."

The 6-foot, 200-pounder suffered an Achilles injury and was placed on New England’s injured reserve and did not appear in any games in 2013. He was then released by the Patriots in early March.

"Once I got released, I didn’t know if I’d have an opportunity or not," he said.

Moe got that opportunity Monday. He had spoken with the Rams about two weeks ago but then didn’t hear anything until Friday, when they called to set up the workout. He took a physical in the morning and then worked out in front of coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead.

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"It was a little bit different," he said. "Standing right there is coach Fisher and Mr. Snead and coach Fisher said, ‘Do you want to be a Ram?’" Moe recalled. "I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘We’ve got room on the roster. Let’s sign him up.’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’ He said, ‘Yeah. Congratulations. See you tomorrow.’ I said, ‘OK. See you tomorrow.’"

Moe will join the Rams for a workout Tuesday morning, when he will start his pursuit of a roster spot with the Rams. It won’t be easy. St. Louis recently signed Kenny Britt, a former first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, to a group of wideouts that includes Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick. The Rams also could add another wide receiver in this week’s draft.

But he is the kind of player who will do whatever he can to show he can contribute, including on special teams.

"They’re not going to sign anybody that they don’t think has a chance," he said. "That would be a waste of their time. So just put me in the slot and see what happens. If I can show up and do some good things — whatever it may be, helping the team in any way."

Moe had a breakthrough season as a sophomore at Mizzou in 2010, with Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback. He caught 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection.


He didn’t come close to replicating those numbers in his final two years in Columbia, but he finished with 188 catches for 2,101 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Moe ran a 4.74 40-yard dash at the NFL’s Scouting Combine, which hurt his chances of being drafted, but he was one of the top performers among wide receivers in the bench press, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.

Moe was a dual-threat quarterback at Fort Zumwalt West, where he was selected as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s offensive player of the year as a senior in 2008. He put up eye-popping numbers, throwing for 2,557 yards and 31 touchdowns and rushing for 2,029 yards and 30 touchdowns, totaling 4,586 yards of offense and 61 touchdowns.

"I’m really glad to have an opportunity near home," Moe said. "It’s about 25 minutes from my house."

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com.