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Rams release former second-round pick Isaiah Pead

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In a move that was probably going to happen one way or another soon enough, the St. Louis Rams released running back Isaiah Pead on Tuesday afternoon.

In the process, the team promoted cornerback Brandon McGee from the practice squad to the active roster and signed wide receiver Nick Toon to the practice squad.

Pead's time with the Rams was tumultuous at best, and he'll likely be best remembered by Rams fans as the guy who cost the team a shot at linebacker Bobby Wagner.

The Rams drafted Pead with the 50th pick in the 2012 NFL draft after trading down from No. 45 with the Chicago Bears. In that deal, the Rams recouped a fifth-round pick, which they'd traded to the Denver Broncos for receiver Brandon Lloyd during the season and used on since-departed guard Rokevious Watkins.

As the story goes, when the move was made, the Rams had been eyeing a linebacker with the No. 45 pick and had Wagner and Cal's Mychal Kendricks at the top of their wish list. Chicago took receiver Alshon Jeffery with the pick acquired from the Rams. Philadelphia promptly took Kendricks at No. 46 and Seattle followed by drafting Wagner at No. 47. Wagner has since become one of the league's best linebackers.

The Rams ended up taking Pead in hopes that he could complement Steven Jackson for a season before taking over, but that never materialized as Pead couldn't put it together enough to play a prominent role. Along the way, he dealt with injuries, fumbling woes and even a one-game suspension for violation of the league's policy on substance abuse.

Pead missed the 2014 season with a knee injury but appeared in 27 games in parts of three seasons for the Rams, totaling 14 catches for 94 yards and 19 carries for 78 yards.

This preseason, Pead made the roster again in part because of the pending four-game suspension (also for substance abuse) for running back Trey Watts. Most thought Watts' impending return next week might spell the end for Pead, but it came a week early now that running back Todd Gurley is healthy and running back/special-teamer Chase Reynolds is moving closer to a return from a knee injury (though it's unlikely to come this week).

Without Pead, the Rams still have Gurley, Reynolds, Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the roster and will have to make a decision on Watts when he's eligible to come off the reserve/suspended list next week.

Adding McGee gives the Rams a little more depth at cornerback, where they'd previously carried just four on the active roster. McGee could also be helpful on special teams until Reynolds returns.