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Sioux Center grad Christian Rozeboom signs with the L.A. Rams
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Sioux Center grad Christian Rozeboom signs with the L.A. Rams

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Christian Rozeboom made his first-ever trip to California back in January for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which is played at Rose Bowl Stadium.

Little did Rozeboom know that California was going to be his future home.

The Sioux Center High School graduate and South Dakota State linebacker wasn't drafted by an NFL team, but shortly after the draft ended, the Los Angeles Rams made a quick move to sign the Jackrabbits' all-time leading tackler.

So on Saturday night, Rozeboom agreed to a rookie free agent contract to become an L.A. Ram.

"Obviously I had no idea going into (the weekend) where I would go, just that I would be on a team somewhere. I am excited for it. To go out to L.A. and be a Ram, that is cool," Rozeboom said. "The NFLPA Bowl was the first time to California and now I am going to live there, which is kinda crazy. I am going there to play football and I was going to be excited wherever I went."

Rozeboom's agent, Chris Gittings, is close to members of the Rams staff who are part of the draft and the organization had been in contact with Rozeboom throughout the process. Shortly after the draft was over, the Rams contacted Rozeboom and Gittings in order to sign the middle linebacker.

Rozeboom wasn't worried that he was passed on in the draft.

"They had it pretty much as soon as the draft was over, they called. There's a lot of guys getting chances, which is cool. It's good for the FCS guys because we didn't get a lot of love in the draft. There are a lot of good players at our level," Rozeboom said. "I think (not being drafted) ended up being good for me. L.A. ended up being a good situation for me with their roster situation. I was a little disappointed (not being drafted), but it's hard to be too disappointed.

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"At the end of the day, you have a team that wants you. A lot of guys would love to be playing football and I am excited about that."

Rozeboom didn't know the exact details of his contract yet, just that it will be about the same as a normal NFL rookie free agent contract.

The Rams weren't the only organization that reached out to Rozeboom, either. Rozeboom and Gittings heard from quite a few teams and Rozeboom felt L.A. was the best situation for him.

"I could tell going in what teams were more interested in me draft wise and what teams were trying to recruit me," Rozeboom said. "My agent and I talked about what situations would be good. It just depended on how teams drafted and the Rams were a really good spot."

The one thing Rozeboom has to learn is the Rams 3-4 defense. SDSU ran a 4-3 defense but Rozeboom is confident he can catch on quickly to the Rams' system.

"I was in the same boat at SDSU, I had never played the 4-3," Rozeboom said. "I would say my football IQ will get me fairly far. It will be a step up from college. Just be as versatile as you can be. At the end of the day, you want to play as many positions as possible and show what you can do."

The Rams have plenty of holes to fill at middle linebacker, especially after Cory Littleton signed a three-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Troy Reeder, who is in his second season in the NFL, is L.A.'s top middle linebacker who returns. He had 36 tackles last season for the 9-7 Rams. None of the Rams six middle linebackers on the roster have more than two years of experience.

Rozeboom brings plenty of production to the Rams, finishing his career with 475 tackles at SDSU. And now he has an opportunity to earn a spot on L.A.'s roster.

"That was the big thing, too. They lost Cory Littletown and they have guys that were there but for the most part, there are spots," Rozeboom said. "My agent said (Rams coach Sean) McVay likes to give starters rest in the preseason, so I will get a lot of reps in practice and preseason games and that is a big thing for me. It can be a cool experience and at the end of the day, I am playing football."

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