ST. LOUIS (AP) – St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke made a surprise visit to training camp Tuesday night.
Kroenke walked onto the sidelines in the final 30 minutes of the 1 hour, 45 minute workout. He spoke with several players afterward, including quarterback Sam Bradford and first-round draft choice Tavon Austin.
Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and is the largest shareholder of English Premier League club Arsenal.
“We don’t get an opportunity to see him a lot, so when he’s around it means a lot to us,” Bradford said. “Getting to say a few words, it’s always great.”
Bradford joked that the team picked up its pace after seeing Kroenke on the sidelines.
“When the owner is around, obviously you want to show your best and put your best foot forward,” Bradford said.
Kroenke met with coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff after practice for about 20 minutes. Several players, including defensive end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis, also stopped to talk Kroenke.
“It’s always nice to see his face around here,” wide receiver Austin Pettis said. “It’s real cool for him to come out, watch practice and check out what we’re working on.”
Kroenke, who was not available to the media, rarely visits the Rams training facility, making just one or two stops a year.
The visit capped off a spirited practice that included several scuffles among players.
“It got pretty intense out there, but that’s just part of camp,” Bradford said. “The longer you go at each other, the more shots people take. People get a little frustrated going against the same looks and the same players every day. It was a way to get some of that frustration out.”
Bradford highlighted the session with a pair of long passes to Brian Quick. Bradford also hit tight end Jared Cook on a short scoring toss during a goal-line drill.
Running back Daryl Richardson scored twice from inside the 5-yard line during 11-on-11 play.
Veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins picked off a pass for the biggest defensive play of the day.
The Rams’ practice Wednesday will be a special-teams session that will be closed to the public. An open full-team practice is slated for Thursday.
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