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    Rams CB Derion Kendrick apologizes for distraction following arrest
    • October 20, 2023

    THOUSAND OAKS – Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick returned to practice on Friday for the first time since he was arrested early Monday morning and charged Wednesday with two misdemeanor gun counts.

    Kendrick declined to discuss his ongoing legal proceedings with reporters, as he’s been charged with one count of carrying a concealed firearm and one of carrying a loaded firearm with arraignment scheduled for Dec. 5.

    But the second-year player said he has spoken with teammates and apologized for drawing attention away from game preparations for this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    “Apologized for anything that I may have distracted them for this week, leading up to this,” Kendrick said. “Every game is a big game for us this year. We got something that we’re always focused on and we’re cued in on, making it bigger than what we were expected to do. And I feel like on my end, I slowed that down just a little bit.”

    Kendrick said that he was in custody until Wednesday following his Monday morning arrest and lost a couple of pounds during his stay in jail. He said his focus since has been on hydrating and getting back in shape, but added that he feels ready to play in Sunday’s game.

    Head coach Sean McVay spoke with Kendrick on Thursday after he returned to the team facility for walk through and team meetings. McVay said that after going over the situation and hearing Kendrick’s side, he felt comfortable with the second-year player returning to the team.

    “Based on the information that I got, the conversation that we were able to have, use it as a learning opportunity,” McVay said. “I think there’s certain circumstances and situations that arise that you always use your values and principles to make decisions. I trust this kid’s heart. I believe in him. I also believe in forgiveness and understanding.”

    Asked what he had learned from the situation, Kendrick said, “Just teaching me how to move out here anyways. Get my own security or go get a driver to drive me around, stuff like that, so I won’t be followed or whatever the case may be.”

    In 2021 after he left Clemson, Kendrick was found by police officers in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C., asleep in his car with a handgun in his lap and marijuana in the vehicle. He was charged with gun and drug violations, counts that were later expunged after completing a pretrial intervention program.

    “It was a similar type of situation but there were some different dynamics that existed in this one,” McVay said. “Those are things that are important to us. I think some of these things, when you look at it as a whole, and you say, ‘Do I think this makes him a bad person?’ No, I do not. I trust based on the relationship that’s been built.”

    Kendrick said that his teammates have been supportive since he returned, asking not about football but rather how he is doing mentally while offering encouragement.

    McVay added that Kendrick’s mother and girlfriend have been pillars for him as he’s navigated this situation this week, and Kendrick expressed gratitude for everyone’s support.

    “Anything bad happens, it’s always someone that’ll be like, ‘I told you,’ or, ‘I knew he would do this.’ And then someone that’s like, ‘I’m behind you 100%,’ ” Kendrick said. “You don’t know what happened, what led up to it, the situation or stuff like that. Just staying beside me and standing by me through that whole process, and standing by me right now as we keep going through it, that’s big.”

    Asked if he expected Kendrick to be disciplined by the NFL, McVay said he did not.

    “They trust the teams to be able to say, ‘Ok, how do you measure the information that you have and what are the guidelines for your values and principles that dictate and determine how you want to be able to move forward?’ ” McVay said. “And I do feel like it’s a mistake we can learn from, but not exclusively to Derion. There were a lot of things that I learned about the California laws that I didn’t even know in regards to just checking all the boxes.”

    For now, Kendrick is taking some solace being back on the football field and in the locker room.

    “I feel good, strong mentally,” Kendrick said. “Can’t let nothing like this affect me, for real, for real, just keep my head up, keep pushing and keep working forward and just try to stay focused on what me and this team got going on.”

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    ​ Orange County Register