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Mark Clayton running, ready to return to the Rams

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Re-signing wide receiver Mark Clayton was a top offseason priority for the St. Louis Rams. They were apparently pretty close to striking a deal before the lockout ended contact between players and teams. Just how close to a deal were they?

Close enough that Mark Clayton had just seen the Rams' latest offer and was ready to accept it before the gates closed. Here's what Clayton told the Tulsa World today:

The conversations and talks were good. My agent had proposed something really good to me, and I liked it. But the lockout came and cut those talks short. Now we wait to resume those and see where we're at.

Given that the Rams and Clayton were that close to deal, it stands to reason that he will return to St. Louis as soon as league business resumes. Clayton makes it clear in the article that he wants to be back with the Rams this season. 

There are no guarantees that the Rams will bring back Clayton after using a third and fourth round pick to add receivers. However, they need veterans, and it would be a shock if Sam Bradford weren't doing a little lobbying for Clayton's return. Clayton isnt' the fastest guy on the field, but he has the burst and quickness that makes him effective paired with Bradford. 

Mark Clayton proved to be a breath of fresh air for the St. Louis Rams last year. Acquired after the Rams lost Donnie Avery in the preseason, Clayton and fellow Oklahoma alum Sam Bradford established an instant connection. Then the fate of Rams receivers struck, and Clayton was lost for the season in week five. 

Clayton's injured knee is doing "wonderful." He recently spent some time in Oklahoma practicing with Sam Bradford, running routes.