Chiefs running back Larry Johnson lost his helmet when he ran into Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa earlier this year.
Tinoisamoa tired of sitting out with injuries
ST. LOUIS » After two weeks of dressing as an emergency-only option and never seeing the field, St. Louis Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said yesterday he's ready to return to the team's ailing defense.
The former University of Hawaii standout has a broken left hand and a dislocated left elbow, but told coach Scott Linehan he feels a lot better. Plus, he's tired of watching.
"Watching us lose and getting beat up, I didn't like it because I felt like maybe I could have done something," Tinoisamoa said. "At least if we're going to get beat up as a defense, I want to get beat up with them."
Tinoisamoa was the team's leading tackler each of the last three seasons and is one of the defensive leaders. The Rams' woes on run defense the last two weeks against the Chiefs' Larry Johnson and the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson made it an especially trying time.
The team also has settled on a smaller cast that allows him more mobility. Last week both he and Linehan referred to the prospect of playing with one arm tied behind your back.
Tinoisamoa said he's tired of waiting even though there's danger of aggravating the injuries. He'll likely have to wear a brace for the elbow injury the rest of the season, and then deal with the problem.
"I probably can but I just want to play," Tinoisamoa said. "They know me, they know what kind of person I am. What are they going to tell me?"
Tinoisamoa could provide a calming influence to Will Witherspoon, in his first year as a middle linebacker.
"I think it's that Hawaii hang-loose mentality," Tinoisamoa said. "I don't panic and I think that's where I help a little bit.
"Will's playing a new position so it helps him when he knows where I'm at."
Another player who's been on the sidelines, kickoff returner J.R. Reed, will be back on Sunday at Seattle. Unlike Tinoisamoa, Reed has been healthy.
Reed has been inactive on game day the last three weeks with the Rams trying others at his role. Tony Fisher's season-ending knee injury, which landed him on injured-reserve, re-opened the door for Reed.
The Rams have tried three kickoff returners and had settled on Fisher, also the team's third-down running back. Fisher was injured making a cut last week against the Chiefs.
The team filled Fisher's roster spot by signing running back Kay-Jay Harris, who spent last season and the first three weeks of this season on the Miami Dolphins' practice squad. Linehan was the Dolphins' offensive coordinator last year.
Linehan said Harris could step in quickly on special teams because he's familiar with the offense and the terminology, and could in time serve as the third or fourth tailback.