The concerning news about Todd Gurley’s allegedly wonky left knee didn’t end with his barely there performance in the Super Bowl (10 carries, 35 yards, zero impact). The Rams have held him off the field during offseason workouts, instead subjecting him to something called a “planned training program,” and he’s reportedly trying to shed a few pounds to relieve the pressure on his knee, which reportedly is arthritic (he also tore his left ACL in college in 2014). Los Angeles also took running back Darrell Henderson in the third round of the NFL draft, which is not something that’s usually done if a team already has a healthy, 24-year-old star running back.
And now this, on Monday from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“The days of Todd Gurley just being the straight-up, every-down bell cow are probably over, just based on his knee, his age, the position, the amount of carries he’s had,” Rapoport said. “It’s probably not going to be like that, which by the way is maybe why the Rams drafted a running back in the third round, someone they really like a lot. This is a team that is clearly ready to spread the ball around.
“Of course, Gurley’s knee, the wear and tear on that knee, the surgically repaired knee, is something that everyone knows has been concerning to the team for some time. All they really want is for Gurley to come back when the season begins when it’s really time to go to be 100 percent. What they don’t want is to have all those questions they had leading up to the Super Bowl repeat before Week 1.”
Hearing Rapoport say that is one thing. Hearing Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis echo those comments is another, considering Davis’s career trajectory.
“There’s something going on with Todd’s knee. It’s not well,” Davis said Monday on NFL Network. “I’ve been in that situation before. I’m looking at Todd. I watched him last year, and they kept saying: ‘He’s fine. It was on us. We didn’t get him the ball in the offense. We’re not using him properly.’ That’s not true.
“When you see Todd Gurley and he’s only getting seven touches here, and they’re taking him out of important plays in the game sparing him in a time when you need Todd Gurley, there’s problems with Todd Gurley’s knee.”
Of the modern-era Hall of Fame running backs, only Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson rushed for more yards over the first four years of their careers than Davis’s 6,413. But the former Broncos star would play in only 17 more games after that, his career derailed by torn a torn ACL and medial collateral ligament in his right knee in 1999, a stress reaction in his lower leg in 2000 and then surgery on both knees in 2001.
“It may not be to the point where he has to be on the bench, but I’ve been there where my knee was not great,” Davis said. “I’ve had an issue with my cartilage where they were removing cartilage out of my knee it seemed like every week. It don’t get better once you start to take cartilage out the knee, start draining it.
“I remember my last year going through that season, and I was like Todd. I’d play in a game; I’d miss a game. I’d play in a game; I’d miss two games. And then I’d come back. And I’d have spurts. We saw Todd with spurts last year against the Dallas Cowboys. He looked great in that game. Came back and didn’t play.”
Gurley had 16 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys in the playoffs last season. He would have 14 carries for 45 yards in the two postseason games that followed.
“I fear this is the beginning of the end of the way we saw Todd and being able to use him on an every-down basis and having that threat out there every single down,” Davis said.