Rams gather in LA to plan moves, get details about new home
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) Although the Los Angeles Rams are in a hurry to get established in their new home, linebacker Alec Ogletree has an even more pressing deadline.
Ogletree's wife is pregnant, and her Aug. 2 due date falls early in the Rams' first training camp back on the West Coast.
''We definitely want to get her settled in,'' Ogletree said.
The Rams met in Los Angeles for the first time Friday, with roughly 80 percent of the roster attending a voluntary meeting at a hotel several miles from the building site of their palatial new Inglewood stadium, which will open in 2019.
The Rams are moving back to Los Angeles after 21 years in St. Louis, and they've got plenty of work to do before their regular-season kickoff at the Coliseum in six months.
''We're not technically here yet,'' Ogletree said. ''We're still in the process of moving out here. But today, being out here, it's exciting learning about everything we need to do and how everything is going to go.''
The meeting included information for the players on where the team will prepare for the 2016 season. The team is still sorting out many details of the move, including the location of their regular-season training complex.
''It was a bucket load of information,'' quarterback Case Keenum said.
Coach Jeff Fisher said the Rams will hold organized team activities next month in Oxnard, California, a coastal town about 60 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Training camp will likely take place at UC Irvine, 40 miles south of LA in Orange County.
Owner Stan Kroenke's franchise is looking at sites around Thousand Oaks - another far-western suburb of LA - for its in-season home. The Rams also are thought to be interested in building a permanent training complex in the same area.
The Dallas Cowboys have held their training camp in Oxnard for the last four seasons, so an already-established facility provides one less logistical challenge for the Rams to address.
''It's an ideal situation for us,'' Fisher said. ''The Cowboys have been very cooperative.''
The Rams staged two days of joint workouts with the Cowboys in the complex last August, so there is some familiarity in a new environment.
Ogletree said the mild temperatures and ocean breezes of Oxnard were a pleasant reprieve from their St. Louis base, which was next to a landfill.
''It's a lot to go through, but I think the process is going to go very smoothly,'' offensive lineman Rob Havenstein said. ''We got a bunch of great resources, especially with the Rams. Coming in here to LA, everybody wants to be friendly and help us out in any way they can. All that stuff will work itself out. We're still here to play ball.''
Fisher has been through this transition before, leading the franchise now known as the Tennessee Titans through its move from Houston in 1997. That experience and the close-knit nature of the Rams' locker room leads him to believe it could ultimately galvanize his team.
''They are going to pull for each other,'' Fisher said. ''They are going to help each other. As we move through this process, and once we get settled, I think we can use this to our advantage.''
The Rams went 7-9 in their last season in St. Louis, the franchise's 12th straight non-winning season.
''There are 31 other teams that aren't going through this,'' punter Johnny Hekker said. ''We are going to be put through a unique situation, so we can use it to the benefit of our team and come out stronger in the end.''