Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry Leaves Camp; Rams Short at Tackle

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry Leaves Camp; Rams Short at Tackle

Article excerpt

Gerald, we hardly knew you. After fewer than 10 days of training camp, veteran offensive tackle Gerald Perry has left training camp and is contemplating retirement.

Perry, 31, joined the Rams as a free agent June 10 after spending the previous three seasons with the Raiders. A veteran of eight NFL seasons, with 68 career starts, Perry was expected to push Darryl Ashmore for the starting job at right offensive tackle.

"He had talked about (retiring) up in Platteville," coach Rich Brooks said. "He's had two surgeries in the last two years. His left knee was bothering him quite a bit. He just didn't feel he was playing at the level he wants to play at. Right now, I don't know if it'll be final or not."

Perry informed the Rams of his decision on Sunday night before leaving Macomb. Efforts to reach him at his home in Atlanta were unsuccessful. The Rams can't afford to wait very long on Perry.

With the signing of running back Lawrence Phillips imminent, the Rams must free up some salary cap money to fit Phillips under the cap. Perry signed a one-year deal for $475,000 last month, including a $200,000 signing bonus.

Perry's absence leaves the Rams with a glaring shortage at tackle, at least for the short term. Wayne Gandy is set at left tackle. But Ashmore has been out for more than a week with a knee injury. The Rams started working Zach Wiegert at right tackle after Perry missed some time in Wisconsin because of knee problems.

But Wiegert sat out Monday afternoon's practice because of soreness in his ankle - the same ankle that needed offseason surgery after keeping him out for most of last season. So at the moment, rookie Fred Miller is the probable starter in Saturday's preseason opener against Pittsburgh.

"The tackle situation right now is not good, with Gerald's situation and Wiegert being down and Ashmore being down," Brooks said.

Wiegert would be a logical solution. He had won the starting job at right tackle as a rookie before suffering an ankle injury in the final preseason game. He starred at right tackle in college at Nebraska. But with Perry and Ashmore at right tackle this preseason, the Rams moved Wiegert to left guard. …

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