ST. LOUIS -- Given his success just two hours down the road at the University of Missouri, no undrafted free agent has ever come to the St. Louis Rams with more fanfare than wide receiver Danario Alexander.
Alexander posted one of the greatest seasons by a college receiver ever in 2009 when he had 113 catches for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns. A series of knee surgeries, including one coming after that season, rendered Alexander undraftable. In need of receiver help, the Rams turned to Alexander, bringing him on and letting him rehabilitate before adding him to the active roster.
From there, Alexander's time with the Rams was marked by a series of stops and starts. Despite flashes of greatness, Alexander could simply never stay on the field. The team released him in training camp of 2012.
Committed to continue playing, Alexander went to San Diego and promptly flashed that tantalizing potential once again upon getting healthy. In 10 games, Alexander had 37 catches for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. Alas, his knee betrayed him again before the start of the 2013 season and he didn't play in a game last year.
Things haven't gotten better now as reports surfaced Friday that Alexander had yet another surgery on his knee recently, bringing his total to seven.
That Alexander has been unable to stay healthy consistently should be no surprise to Rams or Mizzou fans in these parts. His career has unfortunately been shredded by bad knees.
I'm not here to tell Alexander whether or not he should continue chasing his dream of playing in the NFL. Nobody has ever doubted that he has the ability to be a difference-maker in the NFL. But it's painfully clear that the injuries are always going to be lurking just beneath the surface.
Whether Alexander chooses to continue playing or not is his call. If he does, here's hoping he can find a way to stay healthy and contribute. If not, at least he got the chance to do what he loves. Even if it didn't last as long as he'd like, not many people get to say they did.
A roundup of Friday's stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the morning with some thoughts on the potential for the Rams to field a dominant defense in 2014. ... From there, we participated in ranking the eight teams that NFL Nation decided were trending up based on their performance in 2013. ... Next, we were joined by ESPN Insider Kevin Weidl in discussing how teams might go about adding reinforcements in the draft in this Insider piece. ... We rounded out the day with this week's edition of vetting potential draft trade partners with a look at the Cleveland Browns.
Chat: Friday afternoon, we spent a couple hours discussing all things Rams. The transcript is available here.
Here's the full list of scouting combine invites for this year.
At stltoday.com, columnist Bernie Miklasz offers many reasons why the Rams re-hired Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator.
FoxSportsMidwest.com columnist Nate Latsch takes a good look at some possible quarterback options for the Rams beyond the first round.
Latsch also writes that if nothing else, the Stan Kroenke/L.A. land purchase should get some sort of talks going again.
SI.com's Chris Burke names Rams quarterback Sam Bradford as a potential big-name cap casualty. The Rams have made it clear it's not happening but speculation continues.
Along with that, a Fox Sports panel also bandied that topic around.