Defensive tackle returns to practice after ankle injury

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Adam Carriker is back at practice after an ankle injury, but the 2007 No. 1 pick is working with the third-string defense, at least for now.

Carriker hurt his left ankle during a scrimmage Aug. 7, the same ankle that bothered him last season. He returned to individual drills Monday, then resumed working out with the team Tuesday and Wednesday.

For now, Gary Gibson and Clifton Ryan are the first-team tackles. Gibson, 27, was signed as a free agent in April after two seasons in Carolina, where he played in 12 games with no starts. Ryan has started 12 of 32 career games, all with the Rams.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Carriker, the 13th overall selection in 2007, may play in today's preseason game at Cincinnati, but his starting job is not guaranteed.

"I think Adam will have his work cut out for him, but he's a good football player," Spagnuolo said. "Everybody has to earn jobs right now, and in our opinion at the stage we are at -- we said this a long time ago -- it is the land of opportunity right now.

"We'll let everybody battle it out and we'll see what happens by the time we get to Seattle."

The Rams open the regular season Sept. 13 against the Seahawks.

Carriker said he is not unhappy with his current role.

"We have a lot of talent on the D line," he said. "I need to get back out on the field, get back into the flow of things and start playing well."

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