ATHENS, Ga. — Although lingering questions over his knee continue to dog new Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley, the former Georgia star told reporters via teleconference Friday he has no such concerns.
“I played in 15 of 16 games last year,” Gurley said. “I’m sure if they were concerned, they wouldn’t have signed me.”
Almost three weeks after it was reported that Gurley had inked a free-agent contract with Atlanta, the Falcons finally made it official Monday.
The one-year deal, according to the NFL Network, includes a $2 million signing bonus, $3.5 million in fully guaranteed base salary and $500,000 in incentives. Gurley gets the bonus if he reaches 13 touchdowns or 1,000 rushing yards.
Although Gurley said he’s yet to take his physical, there are no worries from his end.
“I’ve played football my whole life so I’ve probably got 10,000 touches. Obviously, the last five years have been the toughest football-wise being in the pros, but it’s just another year, honestly,” the 25-year old running back said. “Each year there’s a different approach. It’s not like I hurt my ACL last year; it was six years ago, so I’ve been able to maintain that and keep going.”
Gurley said the Falcons were a perfect fit.
During his five years with the Rams, Gurley gained 7,494 total yards and scored 70 touchdowns before his recent release. His 58 rushing touchdowns are also the most in the NFL since 2015, and his 5,404 rushing yards are just one shy of Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott for the league’s best total.
“Honestly, it couldn’t have worked out any better. I feel it’s a great situation, definitely for me, to be able to play football here,” Gurley said. “It’s home for me so I couldn’t be more excited. It’s like a little homecoming. It’s perfect timing for sure.”
Of course, being back in the state where he gained fame for the nearby Georgia Bulldogs makes it pretty cool, too.
“Yeah definitely. Obviously, playing at Georgia, all my friends are pretty excited. They might be more excited than I am obviously, but I’m pumped, man,” Gurley said. “It’s definitely going to be fun. It was great seeing everyone’s reactions on social media. Like I said, Atlanta was one of the first places I thought about playing since I played at Georgia. It’s a love affair. I’m just happy to come back to the state where I played my college football.”
While he is still in Los Angeles due to travel restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gurley said he knows he’s got his doubters, mostly due to his knee.
Yet he’s not worried about that. He’d still have something to prove even if there was nothing wrong.
“Yeah, I’ve made All-Pro, been in the Pro Bowl, but that doesn’t matter. Nobody cares what you’ve done before. You’ve got to prove yourself each week, you’ve got to prove yourself each year,” Gurley said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, but you definitely want to leave your mark while you can. That’s why I picked the Falcons, to still create my legacy and be the best player I can be.”
Gurley knows he’s got plenty left to offer.
“I know what I’m capable of. I’ve done it before. But in this game, you’ve got to do it every year; you’ve got to be consistent,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing and helping out the team as much as possible.”
As far as what his specific role will be with the Falcons, Gurley said that’s a question he doesn’t have an answer for.
He’s just ready to help any way he can and doesn’t believe there will be a need to manage his carries throughout the course of the upcoming campaign.
“The way life is going right now everybody is on load management. We’re doing all we can do right now,” Gurley said. “I’m just focused on working out and once things calm down, I’ll be able to talk with the Falcons and come up with a plan. But I trust the staff. I wouldn’t have signed here if I didn’t.”