On Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams opened training camp on the campus of University of California, Irvine, and hordes of fans turned up to show love and respect for the return of NFL football to LA.
"Walking on the field was cool, seeing a lot of people out here, people yelling and screaming," Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff, who was selected with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, said after practice. "It's awesome to be back in LA and have what looks like a pretty big fan base that we have. For them to be out here, I'm not sure what the number was, but I'm sure it was a lot."
Goff added about the fan support, "It's really exciting, and it's really exciting for not only myself but the whole team and the whole city."
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According the Rams, the official number was 10,112 in attendance at Crawford Field.
"I didn't know it was going to be like that," Rams running back Todd Gurley II said with a smile. "Coach warned us it was going to be a lot of people out here, so it was pretty cool to have everybody come out."
"It was great," Rams coach Jeff Fisher chimed in about the crowd but also understood the extra challenges that arrived with the scores of people. "We talked to players about it last night that there were going to be quite a few people here. They were really excited. We gathered them up right before we started just to calm them down. When the atmosphere is the way it was and the fans and the support, there's a tendency to go a little quicker, earlier in practice than you should. I just encouraged them to make sure they got warmed up and got to full speed so they didn't have any issues."
"It was great to come out of the locker room, if you will, and see the fans and see the stands full. That's real exciting," Fisher continued. "The atmosphere is certainly going to help. It's going to help us. It's going to help [the players] focus, to help them prepare. It's exciting for them."
With regards to the actual practice, Fisher spoke glowingly about the conditioning tests that the players had completed and pointed to the rookies testing as well or better than as any previous rookie class that came to mind. Fisher also sounded happy with Goff's progress during the offseason and commended the quarterback for the work he had put in.
The rookie did throw an interception that resulted in the fans reacting loudly before eventually falling into supportive chants of the quarterback's first name. To his credit, Goff said he felt comfortable on the whole, though the rookie and his center clearly had a small issue on the transfer while hiking the football.
After practice, Goff showed his professionalism by spending extra time working on the issue, repeatedly snapping the ball, before coming over to talk to the media.
The Rams will continue to practice in Irvine, but the team expects to draw an even bigger crowd during the team's open practice at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 6. A week later, the LA Rams will return to play their first preseason game at the same venue and begin a new era of NFL football in Los Angeles.
Notes: Fisher said that running back Tre Mason had been listed as "did not report" because the team has not had any contact with the player during the offseason. Rob Havenstein is on the Physically Unable to Perform list due to a foot issue and is expected back in a couple of weeks.