ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Rams were busy Monday when they tweaked their roster, nearly filled the practice squad and elected their five captains.
Two days after cutting 13 more players to get down to the final 53-man roster, the Rams made more changes.
Monday morning, the team signed cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. to a one-year contract and released defensive back Eric Bassey.
Manning gives the Rams badly needed depth at cornerback after preseason injuries to starter Fakhir Brown and rookie Justin King. In five NFL seasons, Manning has 14 interceptions, 233 tackles and 33 passes defended.
Rams fans will remember Manning most for the interception he made in overtime against St. Louis in the 2003 playoffs. For now, he is faced with the task of learning defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's defense in less than a week to prepare for Sunday's opener at Philadelphia.
``For me to get out there, I have to know the defense,'' Manning said. ``I can't get out there knowing just some of the stuff. This is for real, these games count so you can't afford to go out there and make mistakes. So I'm on coach's hours. I'm here around the clock.''
By the time the afternoon practice was done, the team had made another addition, agreeing to terms with linebacker and special teams ace Gary Stills. The Rams have yet to release a player to make room for Stills as they wait for the contract to be signed.
Stills spent the past two seasons with Baltimore after earning a reputation as a special teams star with Kansas City. Stills, who made the Pro Bowl as a special teamer in 2003, has 218 special teams tackles, including 44 in 2006.
``Special teams is what he really made his name for in this league,'' coach Scott Linehan said. ``One thing that struck us when we were going through a lot of things this weekend and looking to enhance our roster was we felt we wanted to give a jolt to our special teams and find a guy that has been productive and a leader, and can play his position as well.''
Also Monday, the players elected five team captains: quarterback Marc Bulger and receiver Torry Holt on offense, linebacker Will Witherspoon and safety Corey Chavous on defense and safety Todd Johnson on special teams.
``It says a lot about those five guys,'' Linehan said. ``There's some other really good guys that received a significant amount of votes, but it was pretty unanimous.''
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