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Rams returner Pharoh Cooper placed on IR, could return later in season

Pharoh Cooper

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay indicated earlier this week that return man Pharoh Cooper is going to be out for quite some time. Unfortunately, his comments have since been confirmed.

Cooper’s ankle injury has landed him injured reserve. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Rams have re-signed his replacement in wide receiver JoJo Natson:

The Rams, who have had a few injuries at the WR position, are signing back WR Jojo Natson, who was with them in camp.

Cooper’s injury deals a blow to the Rams’ return game. Los Angeles boasted the best special teams unit in the league last year, and he was a major part of it. Cooper was able to establish himself as one of the premier return men in the league after earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.

To make matters worse, Cooper’s backup is also injured at the moment. Wide receiver Mike Thomas has been battling a groin injury that is expected to keep him out a few more weeks. That said, both the return game and the receiving corps are currently lacking some serious depth.

The speedy Natson assumed kick and punt return duties throughout the preseason, and he showed flashes of promise in his limited opportunities. Although it was not enough to keep him the first time around, the recent string of injuries has opened the door for Natson to etch out a role for himself. He will have an opportunity to showcase his abilities in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.