Sometimes the universe is on your side. It doesn’t happen often, especially in the contentious world of professional sports, but when it does, prepare for fireworks. With his sudden release from the Rams and prompt signing by the Atlanta Falcons, that’s how things must seem to All-pro running back Todd Gurley and the entire state of Georgia right about now.
Sky-high hopes for Todd Gurley
Gurley was supposed to be a dynamic offensive force for the Rams. For the first three seasons, he fulfilled these expectations. He even earned Offensive Player of the Year in 2017. The burning question is, “What happened to Gurley?”
After an incredible college career with absolutely astounding production — including rushing yardage totaling 3,285 yards and 36 touchdowns — Gurley entered the league in 2015 as the 10th overall draft pick. He spent the first five years in the NFL, including an amazing 2018 Super Bowl run, with the Rams. Then, on March 19, 2020, the Rams let Gurley go unceremoniously and without further ado.
Back in college, Gurley had surgery for a torn ACL that took him out for the rest of the 2014 season. Starting in 2018, in the middle of the Rams’ Super Bowl run, Gurley’s old injury acted up, exacerbating an arthritic knee issue. One of the team’s biggest offensive weapons became a non-factor during the most crucial game of the year.
Then, in 2019, his numbers dropped off severely due to his knee issues. Last season, Gurley only put up 857 yards and 12 touchdowns despite having one of the biggest contracts in NFL history. The decision to let him go after only two years of a four-year contract occurred so the Rams could recoup $10 million in bonuses they would’ve had to pay.
Atlanta’s need for offensive tools
The situation is far from a bad thing, however. The Rams didn’t necessarily get the return on investment they sought, but Gurley wasn’t exactly a bust either. It wasn’t long before another team saw his value and scooped him up. Not even 24 hours after his release, the Atlanta Falcons signed the 25-year-old running back. Here’s where fate, providence, or whatever you want to call it, kicks in.
Signing with the Falcons is the perfect fit for both Gurley and Atlanta. The Falcons were in desperate need of a running back to add depth to the roster. Gurley’s stats, even on a bad day, provide the depth the Falcons need. Knee injury or not, he is still able to push significant positive yardage, catch, and put up points.
A new team in a familiar local might just be the career revival he’s looking for. This works out perfectly for Gurley. He’s been dying to go back and play for his alma mater, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Gurley’s return home
Although Gurley is originally from Baltimore, his home away from home is the Peach State. The star running back spent three years at the University of Georgia playing for the Bulldogs. He led them to multiple Bowl games and it’s no secret that he wanted to return someday.
Fortunately for him, the Atlanta Falcons knew a good deal when they saw it. Based on his 2019 numbers, Gurley might not be who he once was, but the reality is that he is only 25 years old. He still has a lot of good years left in him. And let’s be honest, his bad game is another running back’s good game, with plenty of productive stats in the logbooks.
The Rams might not have seen things that way, but given Gurley’s triumphant return to Atlanta, the Falcons sure did.