Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hocker Comes off the Couch to Kick for Rams [Corrected 12/01/15]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hocker Comes off the Couch to Kick for Rams [Corrected 12/01/15]

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI * Nate Hocker knows how it works in the world of NFL kickers.

"When a guy goes down, there's not typically kickers on the practice squad or backups on the team," Hocker said. "So they've gotta yank somebody off the couch."

In the case of Hocker, a University of Arkansas product who began this season with New Orleans, that's exactly where he was Friday when the Rams called.

"I was actually watching Arkansas play Missouri Friday afternoon on the couch with my fiancee's parents and her," he said.

Hocker said he got the call around 3 p.m., hopped in his truck, and headed to St. Louis. He was in the tiny Arkansas town of Rison (pop. 1,371) when the Rams called.

"I was down there watching some football and eating some leftover turkey, and ended up heading up to St. Louis," Hocker said. "But nonetheless, it's a blessing. Any time I get the chance to be on the field, I'm not gonna take it for granted."

The Rams added kicker Greg Zuerlein to their injury report Friday with a right groin injury. On Saturday, they added Hocker to the active roster and released tight end Justice Cunningham to create a roster spot.

"It's a shame what happened to Greg," Hocker said. "But he'll be back before long and obviously I'm happy to be here to fill in for him."

Hocker arrived in time to take part in the team's walk-through practice session on Saturday. Hocker and Zuerlein both accompanied the team to Cincinnati, but Zuerlein was a designated pregame inactive.

"Greg had a little hip flexor strain in the middle part of (Friday) practice," Fisher said after Sunday's 31-7 loss to the Bengals. "He just wasn't in a position to kick today, so we went ahead and made that roster move. We'll see how he is. That might be a one-week thing."

When all was said and done, Hocker didn't get much work against the Bengals. He kicked an extra point after the Rams' only score of the day a five-yard Tavon Austin touchdown run and sent two kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. …

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