ST. LOUIS (AP) -After missing a month with a lower back injury, St. Louis Rams cornerback Tye Hill believes he's ready to play again.
The secondary needs him, given third cornerback Ron Bartell finished last week's game at safety due to injuries. But Hill, the team's first-round pick in 2006, said Wednesday he has to temper his enthusiasm.
``It's nowhere near as bad as it was in the beginning and nowhere near as bad as it was two weeks ago,'' Hill said. ``I'm itching to get back out there, but definitely want to be smart about it.''
Hill, injured in a practice collision with safety O.J. Atogwe last month, doesn't want to return too quickly and risk leaving the winless Rams (0-5) shorthanded if he has a setback. He reported only minor discomfort on Wednesday.
``If I'm up, I've got to go,'' Hill said. ``I can't be up for a series and then I'm hurting and can't play.
``That's the key, you're dealing with numbers on game day.''
Coach Scott Linehan said Hill looked good in practice, and speculated that even if he didn't start he could help out as a nickel back on Sunday at Baltimore. He said a decision would be made later in the week whether to clear him to play, and whether it was too soon to give him a start.
``Some of it is just getting through the confidence level of being able to make the hits and take the blows because of how painful an injury it was,'' Linehan said. ``I think he's getting closer to that.''
Hill returned to workouts last week, and a return to the lineup would give the Rams their projected starting cornerbacks for the first time. Fakhir Brown made his debut last week against the Cardinals, intercepting two passes, after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Bartell started in Brown's spot the first four games, then moved to Hill's spot last week. Lenny Walls started three weeks in Hill's spot, struggling in particular in a 35-7 loss at Dallas on Sept. 30.
Now, safety is a larger concern, which could again affect Bartell on Sunday. Strong safety Corey Chavous (pectoral) missed last week and was limited in practice on Wednesday, although backup Todd Johnson (neck strain) returned to full duty.
Hill is happy just to be in the equation.
``I just have to go with what they say to do and hopefully they'll give me the green light,'' Hill said. ``You definitely have to convince them to practice, but it's important because a lot goes into me playing.''

Recent NFL Discussions

uconn / smu college hoops on Sat, Feb 2017 by armyranger
Carolina Wise Guy.....What? on Thu, Feb 2017 by Timmy1961
2017 NFL Draft Props on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Handicapping Week 1 on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Blade what time do you get up on Thu, Feb 2017 by Blade

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Vikings noncommittal to AP Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was noncommittal when speaking about Adrian Peterson on Thursday.
Thumbnail Krik Cousins Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Kirk Cousins be playing for in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season?
Thumbnail Tony Romo Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Tony Romo play for when the 2017 NFL regular season begins? Oddsmakers have weighed in.
Thumbnail Taylor could be fit in Cleveland Could current Bills Tyrod Taylor be a fit for the quarterback-needy Browns next season?
Thumbnail Palmer, Fitz both returning for Cards The Arizona Cardinals will have their starting quarterback back for 2017, as Carson Palmer confirmed he will return to play next season.

NFL Team Pages