St. Louis Rams Officially Sign WR Daniel Rodriguez, Purple Heart Recipient


According to an announcement from his official Twitter account on Saturday afternoon, the St. Louis Rams have signed former Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez, a 27-year-old Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient who spent nearly three years stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, to an official undrafted free agent contract.

Rodriguez had been attending the Rams’ “rookie orientation” on a tryout basis. With the very limited amount of actual football activity over the past two days, the Rams had to have already had a pretty good idea that they were going to sign Rodriguez following the weekend, but obviously he made a good impression with the opportunity that he was given.

Rodriguez didn’t see much action as a collegiate player, starting off as a walk-on and ending up with 11 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown plus six punt returns for 57 yards over three seasons. Beyond the pure intrigue that’s provided by him having the heart and work ethic of a war hero, he’s also showcased some impressive athletic ability. Rodriguez, whose legs were severed by shrapnel during the Battle of Kamdesh in October of 2009, ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at Clemson’s Pro Day and delivered a perfect performance during receiving drills.

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He still remains the longest of long shots with wide receivers Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey seen as locks to make the team and Chris Givens and Bud Sasser competing for depth spots. Maybe, though, Rodriguez could compete for a practice squad spot and provide the Rams with some needed return depth behind Austin. While teams used to be reluctant to give practice squad positions to players as old as Rodriguez, this method of thinking has been largely quashed by the NFL’s decision to expand the practice squad to 10 players. After all, the Rams spent much of last season with 28-year-old linebacker Marshall McFadden on their practice squad, who is four months older than starting middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.

Rodriguez’s signing brings the Rams’ roster total to 89 players. Obviously they could rather easily part ways with an undrafted free agent or a former practice squad player at any point, but the team might want to leave their final remaining roster spot open should they end up bringing back free agent right tackle Joe Barksdale or signing another veteran free agent.

Next: Initial Grades for Rams' 2015 Draft Class