Per the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Tuesday morning, Akers sustained a torn Achilles while training for the upcoming 2021 campaign.
Significance of Loss
The Rams, from head coach Sean McVay to teammates like Andrew Whitworth, spoke highly of how Akers was approaching the upcoming season. Especially how last year ended with him showcasing the potential that made him a high draft pick by the Rams in 2020.
McVay said on February 25 in a video conference “I think he can continue to play at a high level. Really, I think he’s an every-down back. I think he’s a special player.” McVay also hinted on June 4 that Akers would be utilized in a slot receiver role.
The 16-year veteran left tackle Whitworth lauded Akers’ work ethic and future leadership intangibles, telling the Los Angeles Times back on January 20: “He’s one to get excited about moving forward. He’s going to be a guy who’s not only going to be a good football player, but I would imagine Cam Akers is going to be a leader of this football team very quickly.”
Despite battling an early ankle injury, Akers put together a masterful 171-yard evening against the Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots, plus helped eliminate the Seattle Seahawks with 131 yards rushing in the wildcard round.
His late season charge became a prelude to offseason hype surrounding the former Florida State Seminole. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report tweeted this prediction on July 1: Akers would lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns.
Adam Schein of CBS Sports, Sirius XM radio and a regular contributor to nfl.com was another national NFL analyst who believed in a potential breakout 2021 for Akers, placing the RB on his “Nine Bandwagons to Hop On” for the upcoming season on June 8.
Most recently on July 18, the Rams Twitter account released a specialized video graphic edit that showcased Akers and Rams legend Eric Dickerson running the football in a video titled “Threaded with Greatness.”
Where Does the Rams Go From Here?
The Rams will now likely turn their second-leading rusher from 2020: Darrell Henderson.
The former Memphis Tiger rushed for 624 yards (one yard shy of Akers’ team-leading total) and crossed the end zone on five rushing touchdowns. The Rams will now hope he can consistently break off plays like this one from last season.
But outside of Henderson, the rest of the RB room consists as follows: Fellow second-year running backs Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais, 2021 seventh round draft choice Jake Funk and undrafted rookie Otis Anderson, who signed with the Rams on June 23.
The Rams may also have to dip into free agency to add an extra body into the room. Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy are two notable names who are still without an NFL home. Former Ram Todd Gurley is another who is yet to find a permanent NFL home. Adrian Peterson is another name still out there and told Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 on July 16 that he hopes to play his 15th season in the league this fall.
The Rams Twitter account tweeted this at 9:04 p.m. PT.