St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens and cornerback Janoris Jenkins returned to the practice field Wednesday three days after being deactivated against the San Francisco 49ers for violating team rules. Defensive tackle Kellen Heard was waived by the Rams Saturday also for violating team rules.
At first, when asked if they will play Sunday against the New York Jets, coach Jeff Fisher said, "They've rejoined the program and the issues are behind them. They've been addressed and they're back on the practice field."
When specifically asked if they will start, Fisher said simply, "They'll play."
Numerous sources have linked the discipline to being late for curfew Friday night after the Rams arrived on the West Coast one day earlier than normal road trips.
Jenkins, a player with first-round ability, had numerous red flags in his background entering last April's draft and the Rams selected him in the second round. Givens was projected as a third-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, but also had some off-field concerns and was picked in the fourth round.
During preseason practice prior to the 2010 season, Givens was suspended with another player (defensive end Kevin Smith) two games for violating team rules. Givens's suspension was eventually reduced and he missed only one game.
Givens said, "Coach Fisher did the right thing by disciplining me. I can't question it. I have to earn trust back from everyone in the organization. I let them know how sorry I am for leaving them hanging like that and letting them down on such short notice."
Asked about the reaction of the team to what happened, "Everyone was upset, but everyone was understanding at the same time. I'm young and I made a mistake. It's up to me to grow up faster and I can't make these mistakes that put the team in jeopardy."
Said Jenkins, "It won't happen anymore. I had to take the consequences; I put myself in that position."
As for the team reaction, Jenkins said, "Some were upset. Some said, ‘Keep your head up.' It's something minor that happened and I have to continue to get better."
Quarterback Sam Bradford, when asked if Givens and Jenkins need to earn back the respect of the locker room, said, "I don't know if they need to earn back respect, but I've talked to Chris a little bit and I think the big thing is showing everyone that they're going to be accountable. Obviously, those are two of our key guys and when they're not in the lineup, we're not as good as we could be. It's important for those guys to be on the field. They've helped us all year. There's no doubt in my mind that that stuff's going to be a non-issue from here out. They're going to get back on the field and they're going to continue to help us."