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St. Louis Rams practice, Sam

St. Louis Rams first round pick Aaron Donald (left) seventh round pick Michael Sam (center) and Tavarius WIlson get ready to run drills during a practice at Rams Park in Earth City on Friday May 16, 2014. Photo By David Carson,

The rookies have arrived, and the vets won’t be far behind for the Rams. Which means the team’s 20th season in St. Louis is about to begin.

Rams rookies reported to the team’s Earth City facility on Monday, a group that included draft picks, undrafted players, and a few special cases such as cornerback Greg Reid. Reid was injured training for the 2013 draft and went undrafted and unsigned a year ago.

The rookies will work out today and Wednesday in light practices that will be limited because of the number of participants — a little over two dozen players.

Those rookie practices are closed to the public. Veterans report Thursday, with the first full-squad practice of training camp scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Rams Park. The Friday full-squad get-together is the first of 14 practices open to the public over the course of training camp.

This year, the Rams have installed additional bleachers surrounding the practice fields to accommodate more spectators. In addition, there will be a bigger merchandise area for souvenir sales among the tents already set up for fans in the Rams Park parking lot.

The coaching staff arrived Monday to begin the season’s work in earnest with organizational meetings before the arrival of the rookies. Among the rookies, all 11 of the team’s draft picks are expected to be on hand today — a byproduct of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which basically put an end to the practice of rookie holdouts.


The 11-man draft class includes a pair of highly touted first-round picks in offensive lineman Greg Robinson of Auburn and defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh.

But all eyes will be on defensive end Michael Sam as well as he begins his first NFL training camp as the league’s first openly gay player. Sam, the former Mizzou star, isn’t scheduled to meet with reporters until next week, following the team’s first practice in pads.

All of the Rams’ 2014 draft class is expected to participate, although Maurice Alexander of Utah State via Eureka High may be limited after missing most of the spring because of knee surgery. Alexander, who plays safety, was a fourth-round draft pick in May.

Jim Thomas covers Blues hockey for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.