ST. LOUIS — Former South Carolina tight end Jared Cook's familiarity with coach Jeff Fisher made the free agent end a natural fit with the St. Louis Rams.
The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Cook, who got a five-year, $35.1 million contract, played his first two seasons in Tennessee under Fisher in 2009-10. The Rams envision having Cook, who said the majority of his snaps last year came from the slot, and holdover Lance Kendricks on the field at the same time.
Cook's production slipped a bit last year with 44 catches, an 11.9-yard average and four touchdowns after getting 49 receptions, a 15.5-yard average and three TDs in 2011. He's confident, to say the least, in his abilities.
I see the word potential as you really ain't done nothing, and I don't see that as myself, Cook said. I think I'm on the elevator going up. I don't see myself looking back at all, and I'm excited about the future here.
Cook ran a 4.49 40 at the Combine and said it was safe to say he still had that speed. He has enthusiasm to spare, too.
You play for the excitement, you play to line up on Sundays, you play to kill the man in front of you and just murder him, embarrass him pretty much, Cook said. I'm here to play and get better and be a great tight end, and look good doing it.
He's fired up about the franchise's future. The Rams were 7-8-1 in Fisher's first season after totaling 15 victories the previous five years.
I know his vision, I know what he's capable of, and I'm excited the path the Rams organization is taking, Cook said. It's been a big turnaround and it looks like they're headed for clear skies.
Cook could give the Rams a battleship look in the slot, replacing 190-pound Danny Amendola.
Fisher said he'd likely fill one of his safety vacancies with Darian Stewart, who played mostly special teams last year after getting injured early but made 13 starts in 2011. It doesn't hurt Stewart that he and Cook are friends.
He didn't get a chance to play very much but he's a very talented player, Fisher said. And so, yeah, he steps up and he's our guy. We're counting on him.