St. Louis Rams Sign Offensive Linemen Eric Kush, Brian Folkerts


The St. Louis Rams were dealt a rather significant blow this weekend when offensive linemen Jamon Brown and Darrell Williams both suffered season-ending injuries while trying to defend on a late-fourth quarter interception return by Chicago Bears defensive end Willie Young. In a desperate attempt to fill the void up front, the Rams added two free agents on Tuesday, claiming center Eric Kush off waivers and signing center/guard Brian Folkerts off the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad. The two new additions join offensive tackle Isaiah Battle, who the Rams elevated off their practice squad yesterday.

With Battle already in the fold, the Rams had one vacant roster spot remaining. They freed up the extra spot by releasing defensive tackle Doug Worthington, who had not yet seen action in a game since his promotion from the practice squad late last month. With Battle elevated yesterday, the Rams will have a vacant spot to re-sign Worthington to the practice squad later this week if they so choose.

Kush, a sixth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, was highly-regarded for a time and was seen as the center of the Chiefs’ future. However, he was quickly passed up on their depth chart by their second-rounder this year, Mitch Morse, and was released at the end of training camp. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder has since been on the active rosters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans, as well as the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers. Kush was released by the Texans on Sunday as the team added tight end Ryan Griffin to their roster in advance of last night’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Folkerts, an alumnus of Hazelwood Central High School in St. Louis, went undrafted out of Division II Washburn University in 2012. After spending training camp that year with the New Orleans Saints, Folkerts spent a season as a fullback for the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League, then was signed by the Carolina Panthers and played in 26 games as a backup and special-teamer between 2013 and 2014. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Folkerts, who has played mostly center in the NFL but can also handle the guard position, had been on the 49ers’ practice squad since early October.

Those two will join Demetrius Rhaney as the Rams’ backup interior linemen. If by some chance rookie right tackle Rob Havenstein recovers quickly enough from his calf injury to play in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, Garrett Reynolds could remain a starter at guard and be on call to kick outside to tackle if necessary. If Havenstein is too injured to play, the Rams will likely have to start Reynolds at tackle and rookies Andrew Donnal and Cody Wichmann at guard, with Battle dressed as the backup tackle, unless they believe that Donnal is equipped to fill in at tackle, his college position. In that case, Kush and Folkerts both would have the opportunity to be part of the 46-man active gameday roster on Sunday.

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In addition to the alterations that they made to the active roster on Tuesday, the Rams also shook up the practice squad a bit, releasing defensive end Gerald Rivers and signing guard David Arkin. The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Arkin was a fourth-rounder of the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, but has played in just one NFL game over his time in the league. Arkin was last on an active roster with the Miami Dolphins in 2013, but has since bounced around to the practice squads of the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.

Rivers, who made the Rams’ roster back in 2013 as an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi, did not last long on the Rams’ practice squad after being brought in a couple weeks ago to provide protection behind banged-up ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long, and William Hayes. With all three now returned to practice, the Rams were able to shed some defensive line depth, and they were obviously more intrigued by rookie pass rusher Zack Hodges, who joined the practice squad at the same time as Rivers.

Next: Rams Rookie OT Darrell Williams Out for Season

Head to our Rams page for more updates, including news as it comes about the status of the Rams’ starting offensive line this weekend.