Weeks after being cut from the Los Angeles Rams after five seasons, star running back Todd Gurley has made his one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons official. Although he has been unable to conduct his physical with the team, Gurley joined the franchise to begin the next chapter of his career with the hope of getting things back on track. However, it didn’t come without some interesting comments from Hall of Famer Deion Sanders concerning the use of his No. 21 jersey that he wore with the franchise that Gurley will now don.
Todd Gurley joins the Falcons
Following months of speculation, the Rams decided to part ways with Gurley after five seasons.
The writing was on the wall with the situation as Gurley was coming off a disappointing campaign that saw his production significantly impacted by his limited role due to concerns over the health of his knee. I saw the 25-year-old fall short of 900 rushing yards and didn’t record a single 100-rushing yard performance.
His drop in production, along with lingering concerns with his health, likely led to the team deciding to part ways from him. Although the Rams publicly denied that the financial aspect of it playing a factor, it’s hard to look to away from the potential upcoming additional $10.5 million salary-cap hit they faced if they didn’t cut him.
His departure from the Rams opened up the door for an opportunity to join the Falcons. With some help from star wide receiver Julio Jones, Gurley decided to join Atlanta on a one-year deal this offseason.
Over the last five seasons, he’s second in the league with 5,405 rushing yards, first with 58 touchdowns, second with 7,494 total scrimmage yards, and first with 70 total touchdowns.
Todd Gurley says Deion Sanders told him not to wear NO. 21
Gurley has a fresh new opportunity in front of him with the Falcons, where he will have a chance to prove he’s still an elite talent in the league.
The Pro Bowler has decided to take a unique approach to the situation as he’s chosen to wear No. 21 for his first season playing back in the state Georgia for the first time since his collegiate days. However, that didn’t come without some conflict as he revealed during an interview with 92.9 The Game with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders gave him some slack for choosing that number before it was announced publicly. (H/T Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk)
“Prime was hatin’ on me. He told me don’t wear it,” Gurley said. “If I was Prime, I wouldn’t want nobody be wearing my number either.”
Gurley’s idea of wearing No. 21 still doesn’t have an origin as he wore No. 30 with the Rams, No. 3 when he was at Georgia in his collegiate days and No.1 at Tarboro High School in North Carolina. Nonetheless, Sanders felt some type of way with the star running back going that route as he had spent five years with the Falcons to begin his illustrious career establishing himself as one of the best defensive players in the league, where he had three Pro Bowl selections and three First-Team All-Pro nods.
What makes this situation more interesting is that the Falcons had not retired the jersey and it saw defensive back Desmond Trufant wear No. 21 for the last seven seasons.
Deion Sanders’ response to Todd Gurley’s comments
With that making headlines, it didn’t take long for this to come back around to the Hall of Famer.
Sanders took to Twitter on Sunday morning to voice that he didn’t have any harsh feelings toward Gurley and was only joking about the situation. Gurley likely didn’t mean for those comments to come out in that manner, but it’s a matter that they will look to put under the bridge moving forward.
Nonetheless, Gurley has some big shoes to fill as Sanders is one of the greatest players in NFL history. His stint in Atlanta may have been short, but he put together an incredibly dominant tenure in his short time with the franchise.