Rams Rookie Gilyard Looking To Contribute

Mardy Gilyard (AP photo)

EARTH CITY, Mo. — St. Louis Rams rookie wide receiver Mardy Gilyard has already become one of the favorite players for the media covering the team with his entertaining interviews. If the talkative former Cincinnati Bearcat proves to be as talented on the field, he will quickly become a fan favorite as well.

Gilyard chatted with reporters following the morning session on Thursday's first day of training camp for rookies and selected veterans at Rams Park.

He spoke about a variety of topics, including the hot and humid conditions, the status of quarterback Sam Bradford and his role as a rookie in the NFL and his willingness to do whatever his veteran teammates as of him.

"It was good knocking the rust off as always," Gilyard said. "The first practice tends to be a little rough but all in all we got a lot of work done. We had a chance to get some plays in the playbook today and I don't think we did too bad."

When asked about heat for the first session, the wide receiver said it reminded him of being back home in Florida.

"You mean the cold?" Gilyard responded. "It is what it is. It's Florida all over again. It feels like I'm back home on the beach. Another day at the beach."

When asked about the status of Bradford, the No. 1 overall draft pick who had yet to sign with the Rams, Gilyard revealed that he has a nickame for the former Oklahoma Sooners standout.

"I'm not sure," Gilyard said of Bradford's status. "I call him ‘Cowboy.' That's Cowboy's business. Hopefully we get him out here as soon as possible but all in all that's his business."

Why did Gilyard give Bradford that nickname?

"He always wears cowboy boots so I call him ‘Cowboy,'" Gilyard said.

A fourth-round draft pick, Gilyard looks to have a good opportunity to earn playing time at wide receiver for the Rams. St. Louis has several candidates at that position who have shown some ability, like Gilyard, and that figures to be one of the biggest position battles in training camp.

Gilyard had an outstanding college season for the Bearcats in 2009. He had 87 catches for 1,191 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also scored one touchdown rushing and three on special teams — two kickoff returns for touchdowns and one punt return for a score — for a total of 15 touchdowns.

"I have all the opportunity in the world to just come in and help the best way I can with the team and try my hardest to be a contributor, whether its special teams or in the offensive game or whatever it might be," he said on Thursday. "I'm just trying my hardest to contribute the best way I can."

"As a rookie coming into the league, everybody wants to play and to have an opportunity to be able showcase your skills is everybody's dream in the league. I'm just trying to work hard to contribute in any way that I can, whether it's serving Gatorade to the vets or being a starting receiver. I'm just trying to contribute the best way I can."

Gilyard was asked if he would be OK with carrying a teammate's shoulder pads, an annual training camp ritual for rookies that Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant refused to do on the first day of camp.

"I'm OK with carrying the pads, combing their hair, tying their shoes," Gilyard said. "Whatever it takes, man. I know my role. I'm a rookie. I know I can't say too much. Actions speak louder than words. In the words of my momma, ‘I can show you better than I can tell you.'"

Is there any request from a teammate that Gilyard would not be OK with?

"I'm cool with anything," he said. "That's my role as a rookie. You have to respect the vets. I'm a guy that respects the history of the game. Without the vets there wouldn't be any rookies. Those are the guys who are teaching us to be vets. The Laurinaitises that we have on the team. The A.J. Feeleys that we have on the team."

The rookie from the University of Cincinnati said all the right things on the first day of training camp. Time will tell if Gilyard is able to make his mark on a Rams squad in need of playmakers on the perimeter.

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