ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Wide receiver Laurent Robinson appeared well on his way to making the most of his opportunity last year with the St. Louis Rams.
Robinson, who came over during an offseason trade with the Atlanta Falcons, had earned a starting spot with St. Louis. He had 11 catches in the first two games of 2009, and two more in Week 3 before going down for the season in that game against the Green Bay Packers with a broken leg.
He is healthy now and fully participating at the Rams' training camp this summer. Robinson is looking to hold off the challenge from several young receivers and retain his starting spot. He refuses to look back on what could have been last season.
"It was a freak accident," Robinson said. "It was unfortunate. But you got to turn over a new leaf and keep feeling positive. I'll try to take care of my body whatever way I can.
A former third round pick of the Falcons, the 6-foot-2, 197-pound Robinson had a solid rookie campaign in 2007. He played in 15 games for the Falcons, starting six, and catching 37 passes for 437 yards and a touchdown.
Those numbers fell way off in 2008 when Robinson played in just six games and had five catches for 52 yards. That made him expendable, and the Rams, who were rebuilding at the position, took a shot at him and were not disappointed.
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said that Robinson was clearly going in the right direction before the injury.
"When he got hurt last year I thought he was peaking and I know Marc Bulger at the time thought they were clicking," Spagnuolo said. "So you get set back a whole year.
"He has fought through a rehab. He says that when he runs and he's playing he's fine. Sometimes after practice it gets a little tired on him. But he's playing and he's doing a great job."
After missing so much time, Robinson said that he is just glad to get back on the field.
"I feel good," he said. "It feels good to be back our here with my teammates. To go out here competing for a job, just like everybody else. It just feels good to be out here in this heat, in full pads and get some contact going."
Robinson will be catching balls from a new quarterback this fall. He likes what he has seen from the Rams' No. 1 pick Sam Bradford.
"He's looking great," Robinson said. "I really didn't know how tall he was when he first came in. But he's a big strong kid. He's picking up the offense well and he throws a great ball, very catchable and very accurate. I'm excited for his future."
Like last year, the Rams are loaded with a lot of young wide receivers who are looking to stick. Even though he was a starter before going down, Robinson is taking nothing for granted.
"We have a lot of young guys and we're all competing," Robinson said. "Everybody wants to make a play and then that drives the next person.
"It's competition every play. You got make the most of every opportunity. When a ball comes your way, you got to catch it and try to make a play. It's a competition. That's what we live for."
NOTES: The Rams have put defensive tackle Chris Hovan, who has been battling a back problem, on injured reserve. ... Hovan was one of several Rams bit by the injury bug. Linebacker Na'il Diggs, (quad contusion) defensive end James Hall (groin), fullback Mike Karney (hamstring), running back Keith Toston (concussion symptoms), and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard all were out at the start of Friday's lone practice with what Spagnuolo called day-to-day type injuries. Safety James Butler hurt his right knee during practice and was being sent for an MRI. Others hurt Friday at practice included wide receivers Brandon Gibson (hamstring) wide receiver Brooks Foster (groin), safety Kevin Payne (quad) and Jacob Bell (oblique muscle).
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)