It's pretty incredible what a difference a year makes. It wasn't long ago when Todd Gurley appeared to be the unquestioned best running back in the league and capable of winning a Super Bowl for the Los Angeles Rams. But this offseason, he was released by the team that took him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Gurley was on his way to another career season in 2018 when a knee issue from college flared up. He took a back seat as the Rams went on to lose Super Bowl LIII to the New England Patriots -- and then rushed for a career-low 857 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019. Clearly, there was something amiss when it came to Gurley's health, but he now insists his knee is fine.
The Atlanta Falcons were quick to sign Gurley to a one-year deal after he was released, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team did their due diligence when it came to Gurley's knee and they are "very comfortable" moving forward. In a recent conference call, the 25-year-old running back said that he's out to prove he's still the same monster in the backfield he was with the Rams before the 2018 injury.
"I know I'm still that guy," Gurley said, via NFL.com. "Been doing this my whole life. It's just football."
The Falcons may have been the best possible landing spot for Gurley, as it's a homecoming of sorts. The three-time Pro Bowler rushed for 3,285 yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons at the University of Georgia, and evolved into one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. Gurley even signed his Falcons contract in University of Georgia gear.
Welcome home, @TG3II.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 10, 2020
Back where you belong. 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/o4anFnAIsu
Gurley has a new number (No. 21) and a renewed motivation to prove the Rams were wrong for letting him go. He understands that he should take nothing for granted, however, but he's ready to put the work in with his new team.
"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."