St. Louis Rams Sign Kicker Zach Hocker, Release TE Justice Cunningham


With Greg Zuerlein‘s status up in the air for Sunday due to a groin injury, the Rams took precautionary measures in case he can’t go.

St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a groin injury. It would’ve been easy to gloss over his presence on the list, due to the fact that he wasn’t added to the injury report until Friday and joined an already long list of banged-up Rams players, but there’s obviously enough concern about his status on Sunday that the Rams decided to take action on Saturday afternoon. Prior to the team’s trip to Cincinnati, they signed former New Orleans Saints kicker Zach Hocker, releasing tight end Justice Cunningham to make room on the 53-man roster.

Hocker, who played his college ball at the University of Arkansas, was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 2014 Draft. He didn’t make it out of training camp with Washington last summer, and he spent the rest of the year out of football before spending several months this offseason with the Miami Dolphins. Miami let him go in March, and he spent the rest of the offseason with New Orleans, ultimately beating out Dustin Hopkins to earn a spot on the Saints’ 53-man roster.

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Hocker kicked in six games with New Orleans, going 9-for-13 on field goals and 11-for-12 on extra points. His longest field goal, which came in Week 4 against Dallas, was a 51-yarder. After missing two field goals in Week 6 against Atlanta, he was released by the Saints and replaced by Kai Forbath (ironically, the kicker who beat him out for a spot on the Redskins’ roster last fall).

As his questionable listing would indicate, Zuerlein still has a chance to play against Cincinnati, but obviously with his uncertain status, the Rams wanted an alternative in case he’s still hurting during warm-ups. Seeing as it’s expected to be 45 degrees with plenty of wind and humidity at kickoff on Sunday, it won’t be the best weather for Zuerlein to try playing through a groin injury. If Hocker ends up getting used against Cincinnati, he’ll be the first kicker other than Zuerlein to see action in a regular season game for the Rams since Josh Brown, who was released following the 2011 season.

Cunningham, the Rams’ fourth tight end, had been little-used since being promoted to the active roster following the bye week. He’d been active for just two games–the Rams’ Week 7 defeat of Cleveland, and the Week 9 loss to Minnesota–and did not have any catches. Cunningham will likely be added back to the Rams’ practice squad on Monday, so long as he clears waivers.

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