St. Louis Having survived impalement, exhibiting courage as a kickoff returner will be no problem at all for the St. Louis Rams' newest player.
Three days after playing in the 2005 Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, J.R. Reed failed in an attempt to leap a chest-high wrought-iron fence adorned with decorative spikes. He found himself hanging upside down with one of the spikes gouging his left leg behind the knee, the blood pouring out.
When he was finally rescued, he discovered he couldn't walk because of nerve damage to the left leg.
"They said I would never play again, that I was done," Reed said Tuesday. "At first, I believed them."
Reed, a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2004, had a big rookie season with a 23.1-yard average on kickoff returns that ranked second among rookies. He also had 20 special-teams tackles.
He spent all of 2005 trying to make it back after a Baltimore physician, Dr. Tom Graham, designed a special brace to overcome the lack of nerves firing to his foot. He'll always walk with a limp, his foot flopping into place.
Last year, he said, was "the worst year of my life," with the lone bright spot earning a degree from South Florida.