St. Louis Rams Linebacker James Laurinaitis is one of the most under-appreciated players on the Rams. He has been the Rams starting middle linebacker since the Rams drafted him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He’s yet to miss a game in his career. In every single one of his NFL seasons, he’s reached at least 100 tackles. He’s also on pace to reach 100 tackles once again in 2015.
Yet his play always seems to fall under the radar, even with Rams fans.
Going into Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, Laurinaitis had a chance to etch his name in the Rams record books. He was closing in on the most tackles in franchise history; the record was held by Merlin Olsen, who had 915 tackles in his tenure with the Rams. Before Sunday, Laurinaitis had 908 tackles in his career.
On Sunday against the Redskins, Laurinaitis tallied nine tackles, putting his career total at 917, and first on the Rams all-time tackles list.
This a huge accomplishment for Laurinaitis. He’s been a staple at middle linebacker for the Rams for years but still draws harsh, undeserved criticism from Rams fans. Laurinaitis is a key player for the Rams defense serving as the signal caller for the fierce front seven.
If Laurinaitis can keep up his incredibly consistent play for a few more seasons and avoid injuries, he could become the NFL’s all-time leading tackler. The current leader is former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle, who finished his career with 1,640 tackles. Laurinaitis would need 724 tackles to top Tuggle.
It’s a stretch but Laurinaitis, who is only 28 years old, has the possibility of doing it. If he can make at least 92 more tackles this season, Laurinaitis would reach the 1,000 tackles mark.