Rams sign receiver Welker

The St. Louis Rams signed wide receiver Wes Welker, hoping he can help them dig out of a third-down problem.

The Rams are 4 for 37 on third down conversions the last three games. They won the first two thanks to a stout defence that permitted just 12 points, but lost 21-18 in overtime at Minnesota on Sunday.

Coach Jeff Fisher announced the signing during his news conference, at first saying the parties were negotiating then getting the "thumbs up" from the front office. The Rams had the 34-year-old Wes Welker for a workout earlier in the day.

"He's in outstanding shape," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "We saw that early this morning. He's anxious and eager to play.

"He's moved the chains for two potential Hall of Fame quarterbacks, and he's good at what he does. Whether he's active this week, I can't predict. I think he'll be able to move some chains for us."

Welker had 49 catches for a career-low 9.5-yard average last year with Denver but became a free agent and has not played this season.

He topped 100 receptions five of six seasons between 2006 and 2012 but has a history of concussion.

The move to sign Welker comes after Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Fisher said the Rams are hoping to have Bailey stay around the building, at least for workouts, while he serves the suspension.

Fisher also made it clear that another strike against Bailey could mean the end of his time with the team.

"We're very, very disappointed in his choices," Fisher said. "He understands that this is his last go-around. If he wants to flourish in this league, have a career in this league, he's going to have to change his lifestyle.

"You have to carry over your workplace attitude into your off-the-field life, and he failed us on that."