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News » Rams add depth on defensive line Orien Harris comes from Cincinnati for running back Brian Leonard.


Rams add depth on defensive line Orien Harris comes from Cincinnati for running back Brian Leonard.


Rams add depth on defensive line Orien Harris comes from Cincinnati for running back Brian Leonard.
The Rams eased the congestion in their offensive backfield and filled a need on the defensive line Thursday, trading running back Brian Leonard to the Cincinnati Bengals for defensive tackle Orien Harris.


On the surface, the trade would appear lopsided. Leonard was a second-round pick in 2007. Harris, 6-3 and 303 pounds, was a fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 and has been on the rosters in Cleveland, Buffalo, New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Despite Harris' meanderings, Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Harris would provide depth on the interior of the defensive line. The starters appear to be Clifton Ryan and Adam Carriker, with fourth-round pick Darell Scott and Harris working into the mix.

Devaney described Harris as "a 303-pounder who's a pretty good athlete," and noted that Harris could fill either interior spot. "We just have left and right tackles," Devaney said. "He kind of flashed at times last year in Cincinnati."

Harris appeared in 14 games with the Bengals and made 14 tackles last season. A native of Jamaica, Harris is the younger brother of offensive tackle Kwame Harris, who has played with the 49ers and Raiders.

Leonard arrived in St. Louis after earning All-America honors for three seasons at Rutgers, where he moved gracefully from halfback to fullback and back again. His versatility proved a curse with the Rams , who couldn't find a niche for him to fill.

Leonard showed promise in his rookie season, playing in all 16 games and rushing for 102 yards against Arizona. A nagging shoulder injury flared in camp last summer, though, and Leonard played in just two games, rushing twice for a total of seven yards, before being placed on injured reserve.

This spring, Leonard seemed to be squeezed out at both halfback and fullback. The Rams have a crowd fighting to be Steven Jackson's backup this season: Antonio Pittman, Kenneth Darby, Samkon Gado and seventh-round pick Chris Ogbonnaya. Leonard's chance at fullback ended in March, when the Rams signed free-agent Mike Karney.

"This is a great trade for Brian," said Leonard's agent, Mike McCartney. "I give the Rams credit for putting him in a great situation ... where he can be a running back."

Leonard would seem to have a better chance to establish himself with the Bengals, who released former No. 1 pick Chris Perry last month. Cedric Benson is the starter, but Leonard will have less competition as a backup from Kenny Watson, sixth-round pick Bernard Scott and former Lindenwood running back DeDe Dorsey.

"I've got a lot of skills: Catch the ball out of the backfield and run the ball," Leonard told reporters in Cincinnati, adding that his shoulder had healed from surgery.

Ramblings - The Rams released tackle David Oswald, an undrafted rookie from Brigham Young signed after the draft. ... Guard Ray Feinga, another BYU product, has become a free agent because the league disapproved his contract with the Rams , but the Rams intend to re-sign him. ... The team officially has signed wide receiver Tim Carter to a one-year contract. Carter, a six-year NFL veteran, tried out at the Rams' minicamp last weekend.

'He's a 303-pounder who's a pretty good athlete' - Billy Devaney



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2009

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