Friday February 20th, 2015

The St. Louis Rams have hired former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke as their quarterbacks coach, head coach Jeff Fisher announced on Friday.

Weinke, 42, had been director of the IMG Madden Football Academy in Florida, where he worked with top quarterback prospects for both the college and pro ranks.

During the 2011 NFL lockout, Weinke was working a couple of hours a day with No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.

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Weinke’s football path was a circuitous one. Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays organization out of high school in St. Paul, Minn., Weinke played six seasons in the Jays’ farm system (1991-96) before giving up baseball to play college football at Florida State.

As a senior for the Seminoles in 2000, Weinke won the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 4,167 yards, 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Because of his advanced age, Weinke didn’t get selected until the fourth round of the 2001 draft by the Panthers, but he wound up winning the starting quarterback job out of training camp as a 29-year-old rookie. After beating the Minnesota Vikings in his NFL debut, Weinke finished his rookie campaign with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, while Carolina was 1-14 in his 15 starts.

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Over the course of the next six seasons, Weinke would start just four more games for the Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

The Rams reportedly want to restructure quarterback Sam Bradford's contract after he tore his ACL for the second straight season.

- Phil Watson

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