Falcons GM feels 'very comfortable' with Todd Gurley's knee after team finalizes deal

If there's any concerns regarding Todd Gurley's knee, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff doesn't want to her about them. The Falcons landed Gurley on a one-year deal (officially finalizing the $6 million contract this week) after doing their due diligence when it came to Gurley's knee. 

"We looked closely at it. We have language our contracts that will protect us and the player," Dimitroff said in a conference call with Falcons reporters, via William McFadden of the Falcons website. "He really takes care of his body well. We feel very comfortable with it. He's a hard-charging runner and we're counting on him being an excellent player for us."

Gurley's knee issues were a point of emphasis over the past two seasons as the Los Angeles Rams limited his carries in an effort to preserve him for later in the season. The "load management" for Gurley started in December of the 2018 regular season as Los Angeles gave him just 23 carries over a two-game stretch which Gurley accumulated just 76 yards. 

After sitting out the final two games of the regular season with the knee injury, Gurley had just four carries in the NFC Championship Game and 10 carries in Super Bowl LIII, a game which the Rams lost 10-3 to the New England Patriots. This happened after Gurley finished with 16 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown in the divisional round, before which he had three weeks off to rest the knee. 

The knee issues continued into the 2019 season as Gurley finished with 233 carries for a career-low 857 yards and 12 touchdowns, also having a career-low 1,064 yards from scrimmage. Gurley had just three games which he recorded 20-plus carries and failed to eclipse over 100 rushing yards in any contest. 

With Gurley's knee troubles and the Rams owing him a $10.5 million roster bonus, Los Angeles cut ties with the 25-year-old running back. Even though Gurley hasn't passed the physical, Dimitroff isn't concerned over his knee. 

"I feel good about it. If and when, I'm gonna say when he passes the physical," Dimitroff said. "We are very encouraged by what we think he can add to us."

Gurley has played five seasons in the NFL and has rushed for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns. He quickly emerged as one of the top running backs in the league, earning two first-team All-Pro selections (2017, 2018) and three Pro Bowl nominations (2015, 2017, 2018). Gurley led the NFL in rushing and scrimmage touchdowns twice, while accumulating 7,494 scrimmage yards and 70 touchdowns.

The Falcons are taking the gamble that Gurley can provide the running game the franchise has been lacking over the past few seasons. Even if Gurley's knee problems reemerge, Atlanta only has him signed for one season -- a low-risk move that was easy to make for the Falcons. 

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