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James Laurinaitis signs with the New Orleans Saints

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The former Rams linebacker is headed to his first new team since being drafted in 2009.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have signed former Rams linebacker James Laurinaitisaccording to NFL Media's Rand Getlin. Laurinaitis will head to a new team for the first time in his career.

Laurinaitis never missed a game for the Rams since he was drafted in 2009, recording a total of  852 combined tackles, 16.5 sacks, 34 passes defended, 10 interceptions and one safety in his career. In 2015, the linebacker earned a spot in the record books with the most tackles in franchise history -- the Rams coaches count tackles based on tape, and put Laurinaitis at 916 career tackles back in September for the record.

The veteran will aim to boost a Saints defense that allowed the second-most yards in the league last season. Though Laurinaitis' number of tackles has declined for three consecutive seasons -- he recorded a career low 60 last year -- he could still help a Saints team that's desperately in need of more dependable contributors on the defensive side of the ball.

The linebacker was the No. 35 pick in the 2009 draft out of Ohio State. The former Buckeye became folk lore in his time playing for the silver bullets, where, in addition to his nine tackles as a true freshman, he amassed 366 total combined tackles, 13.0 sacks, nine interceptions and four forced fumbles. Laurinaitis was also a Consensus All-American in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

His college career included a litany of awards including the Bronko Nagurski Award (2006), Dick Butkus Award (2007), Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2007 and 2008) and the Ronnie Lott Trophy (2008). The son of WWE wrestling legend Joe Laurinaitis -- better known as Road Warrior Animal -- James was destined for an athletic career. His two uncles Marcus and John Laurinaitis are also former professional wrestlers.