Jamil Demby turned in a strong performance on Sunday during the Los Angeles Rams' NFL victory over New Orleans. The former University of Maine offensive lineman replaced an injured teammate and was awarded a game ball by his coaches. Credit: Jeff Lewis | Los Angeles Rams

Barely a year ago, offensive tackle Jamil Demby was waived by the National Football League’s Los Angeles Rams.

On Sunday, the former University of Maine All-American, seeing significant playing time for the first time in his two-year pro career, earned a game ball for his performance in the Rams’ 27-9 victory over the New Orleans.

Demby replaced starting right guard Austin Blythe in the second quarter after Blythe suffered a sprained ankle. He played 42 of the team’s 70 offensive snaps.

Rams head coach Sean McVay praised Demby after the game.

“It really was a great job by Jamil stepping in. Losing a player of Austin Blythe’s caliber is a big loss, but [Demby] seamlessly stepped in,” McVay told ramswire.usatoday.com.

Demby was awarded a game ball at Monday’s video session when the team watched film of the New Orleans game. Some players receive game balls right after the game and others receive them Monday.

“It was definitely amazing,” Demby said.

He said several of the older players on the team as well as his friends commended him on his performance.

“They showed me some love. It’s awesome,” the native of Vineland, New Jersey, said.

After watching the video, Demby said he feels as though he did some good things but needs to continue to improve.

“You can never play a perfect game, but this is a game I can build off,” Demby said. “It took me a couple of plays to get my feet wet but, after that, I was pretty comfortable.”

The 6-foot-4 1/2, 315-pound Demby said he gained confidence from his showing that he will take into next Sunday night’s game at Cleveland.

“You have to have confidence because you’re going up the best players in the world,” Demby said. “I have to continue to build off the things I do well and work on the things I need to work on.”

Demby was drafted in the sixth round by the Rams in 2018 and played in all four of their exhibition games before being released. He was signed by the Detroit Lions and wound up on their practice squad, but was reacquired by Los Angeles later in the season.

He was on their roster for their 13-3 Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots but was not activated for the game.

Demby developed his versatility during OTAs — or Organized Team Activities — and training camp this summer. He saw duty at tackle and center as well as guard, which increased his value and earned him a spot on the 53-man roster.

He saw his first NFL action on the field goal and point-after-touchdown teams in the season-opening 30-27 win over the Carolina Panthers, and he was also on those special teams against the Saints in addition to his right guard spot.

The son of Shane and Jasmine Demby is not sure of Blythe’s status for the Browns game.

“I’m going to continue to prepare as if I’m going to play. That’s the best thing I can do,” he said.

Demby intends to continue developing his body mechanics because he has to be ready to play anywhere up front.

“You have to be fluid on both sides of the line,” Demby said. ”It’s a transition [going from one side of the line to the other].”

He said the whole experience has not sunk in yet and that he has heard from several family members and friends.

“My dad said he was ready to drive to Cleveland right now,” Demby said. “I’ll have some family there.”

The other former Black Bear in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens two-way player Pat Ricard, had another pass reception in Sunday’s 23-17 win over Arizona.

Ricard, the starting fullback and back-up defensive end and tackle, went three yards with his reception of a Lamar Jackson pass.

On defense, he made a solo tackle and an assist, and was credited with half a sack.

Ricard was an All-America defensive lineman at UMaine.

The two UMaine products could go head to head Monday, Nov. 25, when the Ravens and Rams play in Los Angeles.

In the season-opening 59-10 win over Miami, the third-year pro caught a 1-yard touchdown pass.

In 2017, Ricard caught four passes for 12 yards including a pair of TD receptions.

The Ravens visit Kansas City on Sunday in a battle of 2-0 teams.