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Thursday, August 4, 2011
Delayed practices: Rams follow trend

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The St. Louis Rams have joined their NFC West rivals and other teams around the league in moving back their Thursday practice to later in the day.

The scheduling changes are designed to allow newly signed players a chance to practice with their teams for the first time since the lockout. If all goes to plan, formal ratification of the new labor agreement Thursday would allow for an official start to the 2011 league year. Without a new league year, the NFL is preventing players with new contracts from practicing, in part because injuries to those players in the absence of a ratified labor agreement would raise questions the league would prefer to avoid.

Coaches, frustrated by having so many key players unavailable to them early in training camps, have been looking forward to this day with great eagerness. They were willing to move back practices if it meant gaining an opportunity to get additional players onto the field.

I'm at Arizona Cardinals camp and plan to attend their practice at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. The Rams have moved their 2:50 p.m. ET practice to 4 p.m. ET. The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to practice at 8 p.m. ET, four hours later than previously planned. The Seattle Seahawks plan to practice at 4:45 p.m. ET.