This season has been a roller coaster for running back Cam Akers. He went from looking like the Rams’ starter to barely playing in Week 1 to eventually stepping away from the team for a few weeks.
The Rams tried to trade him before the trade deadline after Akers missed a week of practice for what the team called “personal” reasons, ultimately failing to ship him off to another team. So Akers is back with the Rams, practicing for the first time since Week 5 on Thursday afternoon.
Sean McVay hasn’t divulged any details about what happened between Akers and the Rams, and while his coordinators shed a little light on the situation Thursday, we still don’t fully know what happened.
Not even Akers completely gets why things boiled over the way they did – or at least he’s not saying publicly what happened.
“Y’all wanna know. I wanna know the same thing. I don’t know what happened,” he told reporters Thursday. “I was prepared because I had to be. I don’t know where it came from or how it happened, but it don’t matter at this point. I’m here, I’m in-house, I’m back with the team so I’m happy.”
When asked if it was McVay who asked him to step away from the team, Akers chuckled and declined to comment.
“We’ll keep it in-house. We’ll keep it in-house,” he said. “Whatever happened, happened. Just move forward now.”
McVay and Akers met on Wednesday morning to discuss his future, and the coach said he laid out some options for Akers to think over with his family and agent. McVay left open the possibility that Akers could still get released, but that didn’t happen.
Akers returned to the team and is practicing again, and he now wants to move forward.
“I told him I would love to be with the team, with these guys, with the coaches,” Akers replied. “Told him I wanted to make sure it was the right situation for me. That’s pretty much how it went. It was obviously a productive conversation. I’m here, just want to move forward, that’s it.”
One thing Akers made clear was that he never asked to be traded. He never asked to leave the team and miss two weeks of practice and games.
“I never asked to not be part of the team,” he said. “I never asked to not play. I never asked to not practice.”
So whose decision was it?
“I don’t know whose it was, but it wasn’t mine,” Akers said.
One thing Morris told reporters Thursday was that there was a “disagreement” between Akers and the Rams’ system. Akers denied the accuracy of that comment, making it seem like he doesn’t know what caused the rift between the two parties.
“I don’t think it’s accurate. Like I said, I don’t know. They haven’t told me that. I don’t know,” he said.
“Sometimes the unexpected happens.”
Last week, Akers tweeted very plainly, “I miss football.” He reiterated that feeling to reporters, saying how difficult it was to be away from the game.
“When you love the sport, you don’t want to be pulled away from it,” he said. “Especially when you’re healthy, you feel good, you mentally feel right. You don’t want to be pulled away from it, but obviously it’s a business. You take the bitter with the sweet and you keep rollin’.”
Akers again said he “never asked to be traded” and that decision to even weigh trade possibilities was “probably more of a mutual thing.” He indicated he wouldn’t have been upset about being traded and said he just wanted “whatever the best situation would have been, or is.”
“Nobody wants to get traded or released, especially not as a starting running back, so I don’t know,” he added.
An interesting wrinkle in all of this is the change the Rams made on McVay’s staff during the offseason, promoting Thomas Brown to tight ends coach and hiring Ra’Shaad Samples as their running backs coach. That may have played a role in this rift between Akers and the team, with Akers making it sound like he didn’t know that move was happening.
“Umm, Ra’Shaad’s a great coach, Coach Brown is a great coach. I got a little bit more chemistry with Coach Brown, personally,” he said.
Now that Akers is back in the building, he’s just trying to practice the best he can and do all the little things right.
“Just make sure I’m putting my best foot forward in practice, film room, just the normal things, and make sure I’m doing it consistently,” he said.