Rams deal Gordon to Miami

Thursday, September 9, 2004

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins may have found a replacement for retired running back Ricky Williams.

The Dolphins acquired Lamar Gordon from the St. Louis Rams on Wednesday in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2005.

The deal was contingent on Gordon passing a physical. He arrived at the team's training facility Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Gordon was the third-string back in St. Louis behind Marshall Faulk and first-round pick Steven Jackson. But he certainly will move up the depth chart in Miami, where the Dolphins have struggled to replace Williams since he abruptly retired a week before training camp.

"He's a real good runner, and whenever he got in the game he was always successful," said Dolphins right tackle John St. Clair, who played with Gordon in St. Louis. "He's got size on him, but at the same time he's quick and can hit the holes hard. I have nothing but good to say about him. He's a good addition. He's a hard worker and he never complains."

Wannstedt said he didn't expect Gordon to do much in the opener.

"The only thing that gives us a maybe chance is that he's coming from a very similar system that we run," Wannstedt said. "We'll have to find out and make a quick decision. But I'm not counting on it. ... This is the team we're going to line up with."

Gordon missed most of the preseason after undergoing ankle surgery for an injury that bothered him since last season. The Rams featured him in the preseason finale, and he gained 77 yards on 22 carries.

"We needed to know whether he was ready to go for us this year," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "Obviously, other people were watching, too."

"I knew we had great depth in the backfield, and Miami needed a running back," Jackson said. "He's a good back, and it's a good chance for him to prove himself."

The Dolphins liked Gordon coming out of North Dakota State in 2002, but were unwilling to invest a high draft choice after trading with New Orleans for Williams earlier that year. The Rams drafted Gordon in the third round.

He ran 136 times for 526 yards and two touchdowns the past two seasons, getting his most playing time when Faulk was injured.

"He's not a guy who's going to run away from a hit," said Dolphins defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, who also played with Gordon in St. Louis. "He wouldn't run out of bounds. He would run into you. He's a tough back."

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