The St. Louis Rams released FB Mike Karney today, according to Jim Thomas at the PD. Karney was signed as a free agent prior to the 2009 season as the Rams looked for a lead blocker to pair with Steven Jackson.
Mostly written out of the offense in 2010, he played a big role during his first year with the Rams. Jackson ran for 1,416 yards in 2009, the second highest total of his career. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry compared to just 3.8 this year. Yes, there are several different things that factor into those numbers, but having a dedicated lead blocker was a definite plus, especially in a season when the Rams had so many injuries among their linemen.
Karney didn't see much work this year, as the Rams preferred to go with more hybrid players in their two back sets, often using a tight end in that role. They also used Brit Miller some in that role and Miller played special teams as well, something Karney did not.
Blocking fullbacks are nearing extinction in the NFL. New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels uses a fullback even less than the Rams did last year. Karney still has plenty left to contribute. Hopefully, he catches on with another team.