Hungry for depth and experience at the linebacker position, the St. Louis Rams are closing in on signing veteran free agent Will Witherspoon, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas.
The Rams recently waived rookie linebacker Phillip Steward after he tore his Achilles tendon last week, and of the ten remaining backers currently on the roster, only three have played in more than one NFL season. Witherspoon, 32 years old and a 12-year NFL vet, could add immediate experience to the young group.
Witherspoon has a significant degree of familiarity with the team, having played in St. Louis over a three-year stretch beginning in 2006. During that span, he twice led the team in tackles, and was named team MVP after a seven-sack performance in 2007.
In addition, he has experience working with several of the St. Louis coaching staff. He spent the last three seasons with the Tennessee Titans, where he played under current Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis and linebackers coach Frank Bush.
Witherspoon originally entered the league as a third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers, where he spent his first four seasons before moving to St. Louis. He has passed the 100 combined tackles mark four times in his career, with his highest total of 116 coming in his first season with the Rams in '06.
In addition to Steward, St. Louis also released Terrell Brown, an undrafted free agent signee out of Ole Miss who was unable to overcome a pre-existing injury.