Add rookie linebacker Ben Heeney to the list of players who delivered impressive NFL debuts.
The fifth-round pick out of Kansas had a game-high eight tackles, plus picked up his first sack. He enjoyed the exhibition game so much he was looking to take home a souvenir.
“I wanted to keep the jersey after this just for all of the sweat and dirt on it,” Heeney said. “They said that’s the only jersey they have made at the moment so we can’t keep them. But I’m definitely going to get that one back whenever we get the next jersey.”
Heeney entered as the backup Mike linebacker and quickly looked like a player who will fight for playing time. He was constantly around the ball and showed excellent closing speed on his sack.
On that play, St. Louis backup running back Case Keenum tried to scramble and get out of bounds, but Heeney got to him and gave him a nice push just before he got back to the line of scrimmage. Keenum couldn’t stop himself before he went flying over the bench that was at least 10 yards deep on the sideline.
“I didn’t mean to push him that hard,” Heeney said. “I didn’t think I pushed him that hard honestly. I think over there with cleats it’s a little bit slippery so he had a hard time settling down.”
Coach Jack Del Rio liked what he saw from Heeney.
“Very active,” Del Rio said. “That’s what we see in practice every day. He flies around.”
And as for his sack of Keenum, Del Rio said: “That was just speed. That’s one reason we have him here.”