West Returns To The NFL

Joe West at the Combine (AP/Michael Conroy)

ST. LOUIS — Joe West was surprised when he got a phone call on Friday asking him to come to St. Louis to have a workout with the Rams on Tuesday. But not just surprised.

"I was ecstatic," he said.

The 26-year-old wide receiver had been out of the NFL since being released from the New Orleans Saints practice squad in 2008, which was West's rookie season out of UTEP.

"I got released from them and I never got discouraged," he said. "I just kept on working at whatever opportunity I had."

West played in the UFL the last two seasons, with the California Redwoods in 2009 and the Sacramento Mountain Lions in 2010. He worked out for the Rams late in the 2008 season but was not signed.

"I think they liked me," he said.

The Rams called him on Friday to invite him to work out on Tuesday. Team officials must have liked what they saw from the 6-foot-1, 208-pounder because they signed him to their practice squad soon after.

And on Wednesday, after his first practice with his new team, West found himself in a locker room with running back Steven Jackson, quarterback Sam Bradford and linebacker James Laurinaitis and telling a couple of reporters the story of his journey back to the NFL.

"I've been working my butt off and I feel like I should be here," West said. "So I'm just going to continue to work hard and do what the coaches ask me to do and make plays."

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