THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick hopes to play Sunday despite spending nearly three days in police custody this week after he was arrested and eventually charged with two gun offenses.
Kendrick returned to practice Friday with the Rams (3-3) after meeting with his teammates and coaches. The second-year pro said he “lost a couple of pounds” during his time in custody, which didn’t end until Wednesday.
“I got with the guys and apologized for anything that I may have distracted them on for this week,” Kendrick said. “We’ve got something we’re always focused on, and I feel like on my end, I slowed that down just a little bit. … (But) I feel good. Strong mentally. Can’t let nothing like this really affect me, for real. Just keep my head up, keep pushing forward, and just trying to stay focused on what me and this team have got going on.”
Sean McVay said he hasn’t decided whether Kendrick, who has started every game this season, will suit up when Los Angeles hosts Pittsburgh (3-2). But after Kendrick returned to the team Thursday, the coach came away from their conversations convinced the troubled defensive back can stay on the right path by using his latest arrest “as a learning opportunity.”
“I trust this kid’s heart,” McVay added. “I believe in him. I also believe in forgiveness and understanding. There’s certain things that we can use to be able to learn from, and then there’s certain mistakes that people make that maybe it’s a little bit different conversation. But based on my understanding of what occurred, I feel like this is something that we can move forward with.”
Kendrick was arrested following a traffic stop in Hollywood several hours after he played nearly every snap in the Rams’ 26-9 victory over Arizona last Sunday. TMZ reported officers found a gun and marijuana in Kendrick’s car.
Kendrick has been charged with two misdemeanor gun offenses from the stop — carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a loaded firearm, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Kendrick wouldn’t give many details about his arrest, citing the ongoing legal proceedings, but said the experience likely changed the way he’ll navigate the city in the future.
“Just teaching me how to move out here, anyway,” Kendrick said. “I could go get my own security, or go get a driver to drive me around, just so that I won’t be followed or whatever the case may be.”
Kendrick was also arrested in March 2021 in his hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina, when police found him asleep in his car with a gun and marijuana. That arrest occurred less than a month after Kendrick was dismissed from the Clemson football team after missing several games for disciplinary issues.
Kendrick transferred to Georgia and won the second College Football Playoff championship of his career before the Rams picked him in the sixth round of the 2022 draft. He started six games as a rookie last season.
“I think it can be powerful when forgiveness is deserved, and in this situation, I feel like it’s deserved,” McVay said.
The Rams re-signed cornerback Shaun Jolly this week after Kendrick’s arrest. Veteran Duke Shelley, who has played well in limited action this season, is likely to get more playing time if Kendrick doesn’t play.
NOTES: McVay wouldn’t disclose which running backs will play against the Steelers, but the coach said he has a plan. Los Angeles effectively held open tryouts this week among rookie Zach Evans, veterans Royce Freeman and Myles Gaskin, and returning Super Bowl champion Darrell Henderson, who will be elevated from the practice squad. Starter Kyren Williams (ankle) and backup Ronnie Rivers (knee) are out, but Williams still hasn’t been placed on injured reserve. … LB Ernest Jones is expected to play despite being listed as questionable with knee swelling.
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