Rams defensive end Dominique Easley might have sustained a knockout blow to his playing career.
Having already suffered a pair of torn ACL injuries in college, Easley made it through 16 games (no starts) with the Rams in 2016, logging 3.5 sacks, 24 solo tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. It was by far his best year in the NFL after two seasons with the New England Patriots.
But his luck was short lived. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Easley is done for the season with yet another torn ACL — his third.
Easley was a surprise first-round pick by the Bill Belichick in 2014 and perhaps an even more surprising cut in early 2016, though his career appeared to find a new direction in Los Angeles.
The list of players who have recovered from three different ACL surgeries is short. Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is the best known example, while former Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas also made it back on the field after a third surgery.
Both of their comeback stories could potentially buoy Easley as he begins the long slog through rehabilitation, though the odds are not in his favor. This is unfortunate given how electric the pass rusher was on tape throughout his stellar collegiate career at Florida.