Rams, Seahawks’ next opponent, relying on Kellen Clemens with Sam Bradford hurt
With Sam Bradford out for the year, Kellen Clemens will get the start for St. Louis.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ St. Louis, 5: 40 p.m., ESPN
RENTON — The St. Louis Rams, an already reeling team suddenly left with a big void at quarterback, reportedly turned to the most desperate of measures this week — attempting to lure Brett Favre out of retirement.
If the reports from ESPN, among others, are to be believed, then Favre might even have had the chance to play against the Seattle Seahawks Monday night in St. Louis in place of Sam Bradford, who was lost for the season with an ACL injury Sunday.
“That would have added more to the story,’’ said Seattle safety Earl Thomas.
Instead, Favre turned down the offer, reportedly telling radio station SportsTalk 570 in Washington, D.C., that “it’s flattering, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to do that.”
So rather than Favre or Bradford, the Seahawks will face St. Louis backup Kellen Clemens, who played at Oregon from 2002 to 2005.
Clemens, 30, has been in the NFL since then, primarily as a backup. But he does have 12 career starts with the New York Jets and the Rams, most recently starting three games for an injured Bradford in 2011.
Bradford was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in 2010, and Clemens called him “the franchise quarterback” during a conference call with Seattle reporters Thursday.
“Everybody (on the Rams) knows that they’re going to need to up their game a little bit because I certainly can’t fill those shoes completely,” he said. “But at the same time, everybody has been very supportive of me and understands that there are some strengths that I can bring to this football team, and we’re looking forward to going out there on Monday night and playing against a really good Seahawks football team.”
One who knows Clemens well is Seahawks center Max Unger, who also played at Oregon and was the left tackle for the Ducks in 2005 when Clemens was a senior.
“Super good dude,’’ said Unger of Clemens, who is from Burns, Ore., population of just under 3,000. Clemens briefly considered signing with Washington before committing to Oregon.
Clemens’ biggest advantage is that he is in his seventh season working with Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who held the same role with the Jets from 2006 to 2011.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that likely means the Rams’ offense won’t change much from what it looked like under Bradford.
“They’re midstream in their season, and they have a big commitment to their style of play,” Carroll said. “I’m sure they’re not restricted in terms of what the playbook brings him.”
Illustrating the team’s commitment to Bradford, Clemens was the only other quarterback on the roster — including the practice squad — when Bradford was hurt. The Rams this week signed Brady Quinn — who was with the Seahawks through training camp and then recently cut by the Jets — and Austin Davis, who last year was the Rams’ No. 3 quarterback.
But for this week, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said the job belongs to Clemens.
“Kellen Clemens is a smart guy and a great teammate, and we’re going to cut him loose,” Fisher said.
ESPN, though, surely would have loved the idea of a Favre return to spice up a game that doesn’t appear like much on paper, with Seattle an 11-point favorite against a 3-4 Rams team that doesn’t have its biggest-name player.
Thomas, too, might have appreciated another shot at Favre, who retired after the 2010 season. Once the topic was broached Thursday, he reminded a reporter that one of his first big plays came against Favre in 2010 when Seattle played at Minnesota in what was the third exhibition game of Thomas’ rookie season. In the second quarter, Thomas picked off a Favre pass and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown.
Thomas remembered feeling a little bit of vindication since he had tried to approach Favre before the game and gotten rebuffed.
“He kind of disrespected me in warmups,” Thomas said, explaining that Favre didn’t look his way when Thomas tried to say hello beforehand. “You respect the game, you try to talk to guys like that. But he kind of big-timed me.”
A little while after the interception, Thomas recalled that Favre approached him and “gave me a pat on the butt, like, ‘good job.’ So I knew I got his attention.”
Ultimately, though, Thomas says his approach these days is that it doesn’t matter much who the quarterback is on the other side.
“I’d have thought the same thought (about Favre) as I think about Clemens,” Thomas said. “I’ve had success against Brett Favre and I’ve had success against every quarterback in this league, so I’m just excited every time I step out there to pad my stats.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta