LONDON -- An exhausted St. Louis Rams team climbed off their flight into London Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning and were immediately pitched into the business of promoting their home game against the New England Patriots, which takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. The Rams, who left St. Louis on Monday evening on an overnight flight, were met with their first challenge of NFL International Series week -- 500 eager schoolchildren at an NFL Play 60 event in Regent's Park in central London.
"I'm a little tired right now," confessed quarterback Sam Bradford, "but it's fun to be out here with these kids. They are definitely excited to learn something from us about American football."While Rams stars like Bradford, Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson and linebacker James Laurinaitis were on show, the most popular group with the schoolchildren were kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker, who demonstrated skills more familiar to British kids than the finer points of playing on the offensive line.
Once they were done educating an extremely eager group of 12-15 year olds in the finer details of a different type of football, some Rams players embarked on a journey of their own -- to check out what London had to offer.
"You can't go wrong with sightseeing," said cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who was visiting London for a second time. "You name it, from Buckingham Palace on down, there's so many thing you need to see."
Finnegan grabbed a London taxi with defensive lineman Chris Long, who was also embarking on his second visit to London, although his first trip was way back in 1990, when Long was just five years old.
"My dad (Howie Long) played here for the Raiders in an exhibition game, but that was a long time ago," Long said. "This week I want to do some sightseeing, though."
While Tuesday was a day for acclimatizing and seeing some of their newly adopted home city, the Rams will be hard at work come Wednesday, albeit in a very different surrounding.
"It'll be a little different," said Bradford, "We've all done it before, though. Being in college and playing in Bowl games, you have to travel to a site and prepare somewhere that's different to normal; staying in a hotel, going to a different facility to practice, so I really don't think it's going to be that big of a deal for us."
"There's only one way to do it, which is practicing and doing drills and getting into our routines," added Long. "As soon as we get out onto the field, I think things will return to normal.Follow Henry Hodgson on Twitter @nflukhank.