LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams continued to make moves to shore up a roster depleted by injuries and suspensions on Thursday as they prepare for their NFC West opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Rams signed tight end Kendall Blanton and defensive back Sean Jolley to the roster and veteran running back Malcolm Brown to the practice squad, one day after signing edge rusher Takarut McKinley.

Blanton and Brown have history with the Rams. Brown played for the team from 2015 to 2020, and Blanton from 2019 to 2021.

“I’m just excited to be back in this culture, in this organization that I’ve been with for so long,” Brown said. “Excitement is the only word.”

The Rams suffered a slew of injuries before and during their 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Edge rusher Leonard Floyd has played through a knee problem. Offensive tackle Tremaine Ankrum suffered a season-ending ankle injury and cornerback Troy Hill was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury.

Rookie cornerback Kobe Durant and fourth-year cornerback David Long suffered hamstring and groin injuries, respectively. And on Wednesday, the NFL suspended tight end Brycen Hopkins for three games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Rams moved McKinley off the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, reuniting the former first-round pick from UCLA with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who coached him with the Atlanta Falcons.

In 2017, the Falcons selected McKinley 26th overall in the draft. However, the Falcons declined to exercise their fifth-year option after McKinley racked up 161/2 sacks over his first three seasons. In his final season with the Falcons, he had one sack in four games before being released midway through the season.

McKinley, 26, played last season with the Cleveland Browns and had 21/2 sacks in 11 games before suffering an Achilles injury.

Ten months later, he practiced as a ram for the first time.

“It’s been a hell of a journey, just getting back on the field, just getting to this point and just being able to get back into an NFL locker room,” McKinley said, adding, “I’m just here to help however I can.”

Although Morris described his life with McKinley as “rocky” at times, he said they “always remained pretty close.” Morris said he never lost contact or connection with the player he mentored on and off the field.

“He’s a guy that I know can help us in the passing game,” Morris said, “and I think he deserves a second chance.”

McKinley said he had a “closer than close” relationship with Morris.

“I’m grateful that we’ve kept in touch over the years, not even just on a football level, just on a personal level,” McKinley said. “He helped me with things, being a father, just life.

“So I am eternally grateful to coach Raheem.”

Blanton, 26, was a key player for the Rams during last season’s Super Bowl run. He caught seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs before suffering a shoulder injury in the Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals — an opportunity that opened the door for Hopkins.

In August, with the roster cut to 53 players, the Rams cut Blanton. Washington’s commanders demanded his renunciation, but later released him. Blanton signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He obviously knows the offense,” Rams tight end Tyler Higbee said. “That way, he can get here and be ready to go without having a big learning curve. Glad to have him back.”

Brown, 29, signed with the Rams as a free agent in 2015 and has been a reliable backup to Todd Gurley and others for six seasons.

In 2020, Brown had 419 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries.

He signed with the Miami Dolphins before last season. Brown had 125 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in seven games before suffering a quadriceps injury.

Brown is once again the senior in a group of running backs that includes Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.

“Malcolm is a professional,” offensive coordinator Liam Cohen said. “Just does the right thing, both on and off the field. He will be a great example for a lot of our young players.”

Veteran defensive end Aaron Donald is excited to have Brown back on the team.

“He’s just a guy who understands what we’re doing here,” Donald said. “Been here, knows the environment. So adding him back into the mix will be great.”

The Rams signed Jolley off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. He had six assists in four seasons at Appalachian State.


Durant, Long and receiver Van Jefferson (knee) did not practice, according to the Rams’ injury report. Safety Jordan Fuller (hamstring) was limited. … The Rams waived linebacker Keir Thomas and running back Trey Ragas.


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