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Rams training camp battles: Lirim Hajrullahu appears positioned to be LA’s kicker

Former CFL star could officially be an NFL player in a couple of weeks

CFL: Edmonton Eskimos at Hamilton Tiger-Cats John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams held a scrimmage at SoFi Stadium on Saturday night and it was the perfect opportunity for Sean McVay to get a look at his three-way kicker competition with bright lights and 70,000 empty seats as the background. The kicker who had the best night adjusting to those conditions was CFL star Lirim Hajrullahu, the presumed favorite to win the job this offseason even though he has no NFL experience.

Hajrullahu went 5-of-5 on Saturday night, connecting from 38, 38, 43, 48 and 50. They were reportedly all “no doubt” kicks that cleared the crossbar with ease.

Here’s what I wrote about Hajrullahu back in April when the Rams signed him:

Hajrullahu went 47-of-55 on field goal tries in 2019 with a long of 56. For his career, he’s made 83.3% of his 287 attempts over six seasons. He drew interest from the league in 2019 but ended up returning to Hamilton, but the team released him this year so that he’d be able to freely negotiate and sign with an NFL team in 2020.

His family wound up in Canada in 1998 as refugees from Kosovo.

McVay would love to be able to replace longtime kicker Greg Zuerlein with a cheaper option who can improve upon Zuerlein’s disappointing 2019 campaign. Though Austin MacGinnis was also good, making 4-of-5 kicks, Hajrullahu may have pulled even further ahead in the race to do just that.

Rookie Sam Sloman may have been drafted this year but could be lagging behind based on Saturday’s event.