If you think the city of Los Angeles and fans and local businesses were happy to get the Rams back in L.A., well, so were media.
“Yeah, it’s a huge story,” Orange County Register Rams beat writer Rich Hammond said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “You know as well as anybody. I mean, a 22-year wait – I think a lot of people had given up, frankly. A lot of football fans had just thought, ‘You know what? It’s just never going to happen. They’re just going to keep teasing us. They’re just going to keep pretending that they’re interested in L.A., and nothing’s ever going to happen.”
Well, it happened. The Rams belong to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994.
“To finally see it be real – they came out for practice on Saturday for the first time and got 10,000 people down there in Irvine just to watch a practice, which is kind of crazy,” Hammond said. “But that just spoke to the level of excitement. They’re going to sell out the Coliseum – 80- or 90,000 seats for every game. I think it means something that it’s the Rams, too. They have such a history. The Raiders are popular here and still are, but the Rams go back to the ’40s and ’50s here. There’s just generations of Rams fans here who are just really happy to see this, so it’s an amazing story and one I think a lot of us never thought we’d see.”
The Rams will certainly be a must-see attraction this season – and during the preseason. They will be featured on “Hard Knocks,” which will give fans a chance to see plenty of No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff before he takes his first NFL snap.
One player Rams fans probably won’t see, though, is Tre Mason, who hasn’t had any contact with the franchise in seven months. Mason, 22, rushed 75 times for 207 yards (2.8 yards per carry) and one touchdown last season.
Rams players and coaches are extremely concerned for the Auburn product’s well-being.
“The thing I can tell you is the Rams haven’t had any contact with the guy at all,” Hammond said. “Jeff Fisher has been trying to reach out, management’s been trying to reach out, teammates have been trying to reach out, and apparently nobody has been in contact with the guy since the end of the season, so we’re going back to January. Obviously he got arrested in March down in Florida. Resisting arrest and speeding and all that. Nobody out here knows what’s going on with him. They’ve had some contact with his agent, a little bit of contact with family members, but haven’t been able to get him at all. He wasn’t there for the workouts in June, he hasn’t shown up for the workouts now. Really, it’s not about football. Obviously they want a running back back there. He’s a No. 2 running back, but they’re worried about this guy. They’re worried about his mental health and just being able to exist and be a good person.”