By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation says Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Dominique Easley is expected to miss the season with a torn knee ligament.
The source spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the Rams hadn’t announced the severity of the injury for Easley, a likely starter this season.
Easley hurt his right knee during training camp on Tuesday and was taken off the field on a cart. Easley also tore ligaments in both knees during college at Florida.
Easley was the Patriots’ first-round pick in 2014, but his two seasons in New England both ended early due to injuries, including a knee problem in his rookie year.
After the Patriots let him go, Easley signed with the Rams last year and had a solid season with 35 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks.
He was expected to step up in prominence this season as a starting end in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.
The Rams’ defensive line was the strength of the franchise in recent seasons, but Los Angeles is down to one projected starter after four practices in training camp.
Nose tackle Michael Brockers is healthy, but All-Pro lineman Aaron Donald hasn’t reported to camp while locked in contract negotiations with the club.
Robert Quinn, a starting end last season, is playing a hybrid outside linebacker role in Phillips’ new defense. He is healthy, along with new outside linebacker Connor Barwin.
Los Angeles’ depth on the defensive line also took a hit with the offseason trade of William Hayes to Miami. Ethan Westbrooks is a capable veteran, while Mike Purcell, Matt Longacre, Louis Trinca-Pasat and rookie Tanzel Smart are other options.
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