Cornerback Bradley Fletcher healthy again for Rams

BY foxsports • September 11, 2010

Back from a serious knee injury, St. Louis Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher is ready to pick up where his impressive rookie season left off.

In fact, the 6-foot, 198-pound Fletcher will be in the starting lineup Sunday when the Rams host Arizona in the season opener.

''It's great to be back and playing football,'' Fletcher said Friday after practice. ''It's been a long time.''

Fletcher sustained two torn ligaments in his right knee during his third game as a starter last fall. The third-round pick out of Iowa was injured in the second half of a 42-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 25. He required two operations, one immediately after the injury and another in December.

It was an especially tough blow for Fletcher, who had won the starting job from Jonathan Wade.

''I was covering a fade ball on the sideline and my leg hyperextended,'' Fletcher said. ''I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) pretty bad. I felt it pop in there. Things were just starting to pick up for me, too. I had become a starter. At first, I was a little down. But it's all part of football.''

He stayed in St. Louis and spent the offseason rehabbing the knee.

''Everything went well. I was up here every morning and getting the knee fixed up and ready to go,'' Fletcher said. ''There were some rough days for sure but that's all part of rehab. If I hadn't done all that, I wouldn't be out here running around now.''

Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he is happy to see Fletcher come back from the devastating knee injury.

''(He's come) a long way,'' Spagnuolo said. ''You know, that was not an easy injury to come back from. He was great in rehab. He's taken a little while. He's still got some learning to do. He's probably still a rookie in a lot of ways.''

Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole agreed.

''This is actually, when you really look at it, this is Bradley's freshman year because he got hurt early enough in the season that he lost all of the experience you have playing the 16-game schedule,'' Flajole said. ''He has done a remarkable job physically. When you talk to the trainers, he's come back quicker than most people come back on the injury that he had.''

Fletcher will see how far he's come against the Cardinals, who feature a Pro Bowl receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and a talented pass catcher in Steve Breaston.

''I can't wait,'' Fletcher said. ''I'm looking forward to the challenge. Fitzgerald looks great on film. He's a big guy, a fast guy and he can run. Our secondary will definitely have its hands full. We're going to be working hard. We've got a good unit and I'm ready to play.''

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