Beat-up Carriker hobbles to finish line

Friday, December 26, 2008
JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press
Rams defensive lineman Adam Carriker tries to slow down Cowboys running back Marion Barber during their game earlier this season in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS -- Hobbling to the finish line of his second NFL season, Adam Carriker has no complaints.

No excuses, either.

The St. Louis Rams defensive tackle hasn't played much like a first-round draft pick most of the year because of injuries to his right shoulder and left ankle. Those woes led to diminished production, and he lost his starting job to veteran La'Roi Glover for seven games in the middle of the season.

"It's been tough, but at the same time, it's part of the game," Carriker said. "It's something you've got to play with and something you've got to deal with.

"I know I'm not 100 percent and I know it's affecting this and affecting that, but I know I've got to push through it and keep playing."

At the low point, the 6-foot-6, 308-pound former Nebraska star said he might have been as low as 60 or 70 percent healthy. He said his body is probably somewhere in the 80 percent range heading into the season finale Sunday at Atlanta.

Carriker, the 13th overall pick in the 2007 draft, had two sacks in his rookie season. This year, he has none.

Again, Carriker chalks it up to a life of banging heads for a living.

"It's part of football, it's part of what makes this sport so much fun," Carriker said. "I don't like being hurt, but being sore and tired, I do like that."

Carriker had surgery on his left shoulder in the offseason after being hurt in the season finale, and was limited in lifting for a time. That shoulder is fine now, but he injured the right shoulder early in the season and it has affected him from time to time.

Rams coach Jim Haslett said Carriker first hurt the ankle playing basketball in the offseason. He aggravated the injury against the Cowboys in Game 6 and has been dealing with it since.

He's yet to miss a game, though. After Sunday, there finally will be some healing time.

"I'm just going to take a few weeks off and let the body recover," Carriker said. "Then I'll come back and start lifting and running, get the blood flowing and see how it goes.

"It should be fine."

The Rams (2-13) had the day off Thursday before resuming preparations for the Falcons (10-5). St. Louis has a nine-game losing streak, but players have one last chance to show what they're capable of.

"I think every time you step on the field, you make an impression," Haslett said. "The camera is on you and everybody in the league is looking at you."

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