The health of Todd Gurley will remain a storyline until the veteran running back takes the field in 2020 and buries it with a bounce-back performance, but it doesn't appear anyone within the Atlanta Falcons organization has any concerns. Gurley was released by the Los Angeles Rams this offseason and almost immediately signed to a one-year deal that returns him home to North Georgia, but rumors of supposed knee issues continue to loom over his head. with the goal of dispelling the rabid speculation, and his new quarterback Matt Ryan has had nothing but positive things to say for the newest member of the backfield.
Ryan noted in a recent interview with ESPN that he's worked out a "handful of times" with Gurley in the absence of a formal minicamp due to the league's COVID-19 restrictions, and he's thoroughly "impressed" with the former Rams running back.
"I've gotten to work with Todd, and he's awesome," Ryan said. "Really, really good guy. A hard worker. He's super smart.
"The stuff I was telling him one day, the next day he had it down. I was really impressed with his ability to retain information. You don't have to tell him twice. He's on it."
It wasn't so long ago when Gurley was viewed as arguably the best running back in the entire NFL, and the Rams made it clear they felt the same way -- awarding him a four-year, $60 million extension that made him the highest-paid in the history of the position. The former first-round pick has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three of his five NFL seasons, and is only two seasons removed from having racked up 2,093 yards from scrimmage along with 19 touchdowns.
That's the version of Gurley the Falcons are banking on to show up in 2020, and especially with the team. And despite the narrative surrounding his knee, he's missed only four regular season games over the past three seasons, his downturn in production more attributable to a reduction in role.
Now home in Atlanta, he's looking to re-establish his brand, and Ryan believes he'll do just that.
"I think [Gurley is] going to be an awesome fit for us," the former league MVP said. "And I'm glad we have him."