Rams RB Akers not with team; McVay: ‘uncharted territory’

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Running back Cam Akers has abruptly departed the Los Angeles Rams, who cited personal reasons for why their leading rusher won’t play Sunday against Carolina.

Coach Sean McVay did not give further details Friday when asked about Akers’ circumstances, though he did say the running back was not injured.

When asked whether Akers would be part of the Rams going forward, McVay replied: “We’re working through some different things right now, so hopefully you guys understand and respect that.”

McVay also said the team wanted to keep it “in-house,” later adding that personal reasons are “more like we’re dealing with things internally. This is kind of uncharted territory. … He’s going to be OK.”

Akers practiced with the defending Super Bowl champions on Wednesday, but wasn’t with the team on Thursday or Friday.

Akers has rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown this season for the Rams, who have the NFL’s worst rushing offense at just 62.4 yards per game. Akers has been unproductive in the ground game by most statistical measures, while running behind an offensive line missing three starters and two backups due to injury.

Earlier this season, McVay publicly called for a better effort from Akers, who responded with mild surprise and acceptance. Akers has acknowledged he is still attempting to recover his peak explosiveness after tearing an Achilles tendon during preseason workouts last year.

Akers rushed for 625 yards as a rookie out of Florida State in 2020 after the Rams selected him with their highest pick in any of the past five drafts. He recovered remarkably quickly from the Achilles injury to rejoin Los Angeles for the regular-season finale and its playoff run to a championship.

Akers played in each of the Rams’ first five games this season, but is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry after gaining 33 yards on 13 attempts last week against Dallas.

According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Akers has minus-0.98 rush yards over expected per attempt, which is the second-worst performance in the league. He has just 86 yards after contact and has broken only one tackle all season.

Darrell Henderson, the other key running back on the Rams’ roster, didn’t get a carry against the Cowboys. He has 138 yards rushing this season.

The Rams (2-3) have lost back-to-back games. Los Angeles’ bye is next week.

When asked if the Rams expect to be in the market for a running back, McVay replied: “I don’t know. I wouldn’t say no, ever. We’ll always explore our options if there’s chances to upgrade. That’s probably not something that’s at the forefront.”

NOTES: LG David Edwards will visit with concussion specialists in Pittsburgh, McVay said. Edwards is on injured reserve. … WR Cooper Kupp, DT Aaron Donald and TE Tyler Higbee are all expected to play Sunday despite being questionable with minor injuries.


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