Following weeks of looking to find his exodus from Jacksonville, Jalen Ramsey arrived in Southern California on Wednesday, addressing the L.A. media for the first time not long after the sun dipped into the night.
A smile came easy to the Pro Bowl cornerback recognized as one of the elite at his position as he spoke of being overjoyed at having a fresh start with a Rams team that would offer a perhaps more understanding environment for him.
There was no definitive answer as to whether he would be ready to play Sunday against the Falcons, but he was hopeful as he also made it known he had no current concerns about a contract extension. No, on this clear California evening, it was fresh starts, easy grins and a bright horizon that were at the podium.
“I was overjoyed,” Ramsey said of his emotions when he found out he was traded to the Rams on Tuesday night in exchange for three draft picks, including two first-rounders in each of the next two years. “I was super, super excited. One, a fresh start and a fresh start in a place like L.A. with the culture that I’ve heard about here. I’m a young guy still. Everybody around here’s kinda young, I feel like it’ll be a little bit more understanding. I was just honestly super excited. Words can’t really describe it.”
Requesting a trade out of Duval and dealing with a back injury have been at the forefront of the 2019 campaign for Ramsey after three stellar seasons to start his career with the Jaguars. A two-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time All-Pro, Ramsey’s production this season has been limited to three games. He hasn’t played since Week 3, with his final game for the Jaguars standing as a win against the Titans in which he had eight tackles and a forced fumble.
Ramsey was adamant that he wanted to return to the field on Sunday against the Falcons, but maintained the decision still had to be made and there are multiple factors.
“I’m feeling pretty good. Getting better and better every day; feeling pretty good really,” Ramsey said when asked about the status of his back.
In addition to his back, Ramsey also has an abbreviated week of preparation with his new team is something to overcome.
“It’s both equally important,” said of getting healthy and acclimated to a new defense being hurdles lying in front of his return. “I’m sure not only myself, but the coaches and everybody will come up with a good game plan. If it’s smart for me to go out there on Sunday, then I will. I’ve been missing football — I love football. So I would love that. At the end of the day, we do have to be smart, as well. So, I don’t know, I can’t tell you yes or no right now.”
Uncertain as his return might be, Ramsey’s clearly excited to get back to playing. He stressed that wasn’t the case when it came to signing a new contract, which will no doubt make him one of the highest-paid at his position.
“I’m not really worried about it to be honest,” Ramsey said. “I’ve kinda said that a lot. I don’t think people believe me. I really, I’m not worried about it. It’ll happen in due time. I have full confidence in myself and my abilities and I think I’ll continue to be the best corner in the league for years and years and years to come. So, it’ll handle itself and it’s all in God’s timing.”
An inharmonious separation from the Jaguars and weeks away from playing a game obviously haven’t rattled the cornerback’s confidence.
For Rams coach Sean McVay, that’s no doubt good to hear. Earlier in the day, McVay let it be known that he was happy to have Ramsey swaggering into the locker room.
“I think you want guys with some swag, some personality, different things like that,” McVay said, via team transcript. “As long as those guys love football, they love competing every single day, I think usually this is a building that I think will suit him well.”
As a date for Ramsey’s debut remains to be determined, so too does the type of swag he’ll showcase for his new team, which now unbelievably offers up likely the best defensive lineman, if not overall player, in the game in Aaron Donald and the player thought by many to be the best cornerback.
“You all’s gonna have to see the type of swag I bring, I guess,” Ramsey said. “I think for the most part, a lot of people know who I am as a player on the field, not a lot of people know who I am off the field. But, over me being here, my career being here, you all will learn who I am more. Kind of learn my personality a little bit, see the guy I am. But yeah, I’m very confident. I love the game of football, I love to have fun.”
As a warm October day in sunny Southern California drifted into a cool night, Ramsey said hello to L.A. for the first time, a smile coming quickly — just as the Rams hope their fortunes will turn with the addition of one of the finest players in the NFL.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Omar Ruiz (@OmarDRuiz)
October 17, 2019