Rams' Stewart Steps Up

ST. LOUIS — When he arrived for the rookies and selected veterans portion of training camp, safety Darian Stewart certainly looked the part of a player as a solidly built 5-foot-11, 215-pounder.

As an undrafted rookie out of the University of South Carolina, however, Stewart faced an uphill battle to make the St. Louis Rams roster.

But not only did Stewart make the 53-man roster out of training camp, he's turned into a solid contributor in the secondary and on special teams in his rookie season.

"I'm healthy 100 percent and I feel more comfortable out there," Stewart said after the Rams' 25-17 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Alabama native made an impact in the victory. He was credited with three tackles, including one for loss, one quarterback hit and a team-high two special teams tackles.

"It's a big win," Stewart said. "This is a must-win and we just feel like we need to play to the best of our ability and we have to take it one day at a time."

Stewart, a three-year starter for the Gamecocks, has played in 12 games for the Rams this season as injuries have limited safeties Oshiomogho Atogwe, Craig Dahl and James Butler at times.

He has recorded 11 tackles, one sack — he got the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees on Dec. 12 — to go along with four special teams tackles, which came in the last three games.

"He just comes to work every day with a great attitude willing to learn from some of the older guys around him," Rams safety Craig Dahl said. "He's given us a great presence on the field, especially in some of our third-down packages. He's athletic enough and he hits extremely hard for being a safety, too. He brings a lot to the table with his speed and athleticism."

Sunday's victory put the Rams in position to win the NFC West if they can beat the Seahawks in Seattle in the regular season finale on Sunday and Stewart has not only beat the odds to make the Rams but developed into a contributor.

Life is good for the undrafted rookie.

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