Questions about Todd Gurley‘s ability to handle a heavy workload moving forward have been pondered for more than a year.
Since the end of the 2018 season when he missed two games due to a knee injury, and into those playoffs, when the Los Angeles Rams curtailed the running back’s reps during the Super Bowl run, the perception has been that Gurley won’t be the same running back moving forward.
After being released by the Rams — who decided eating a ton of dead money was better than paying the RB — Gurley signed in Atlanta. He insisted Friday in a conference call that he has no concerns about the knee. The 25-year-old running back said he’s out to prove he’s still the same difference-maker who won the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year award.
“I know I’m still that guy. Been doing this my whole life. It’s just football,” he said.
Last offseason, L.A. insisted it wasn’t worried about Gurley’s knee issue, which stemmed from a college injury. Yet, the team siphoned off totes during the 2019 campaign. His 223 carries in 15 games were the fewest of his career. Gurley didn’t look like the elusive back we’d been used to seeing and didn’t blast as many big plays as in previous seasons under Sean McVay. He finished with 857 yards, 3.8 yards per carry and 12 rushing TDs, all lows in three seasons with McVay. The Rams also used Gurley less in the passing game, a sure sign they were curtailing his reps.
Now that he’s with a new club, Gurley said he’s ready to earn back his title of workhorse.
“Nothing is [given]. I don’t care if you have 10 Pro Bowls or one Pro Bowl,” he said. “You got to go in and work, that’s just how the game goes. Obviously, I’ll be able to come in and help those guys out but like I said [I’m going to] play my role, it’s whatever the team need me to do at the end of the day. I know what I bring to the table, [I’m going to] come in, [I’m going to] work hard and help out the running back and they’re going to help me out as well.”
The Falcons are gambling that the Georgia product can bounce back and carry a bigger load than last season without devastating effects on his knee. Gurley currently shares a backfield with Ito Smith, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison.