“I was excited,” Gurley told reporters Wednesday of learning he’d been selected for the NFL’s annual all-star event. “I heard before, but I really wanted to hear it from NFL Network.”
It’s a stark contrast from what he was doing a year ago.
“Rehabbing,” Gurley said.
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Gurley was on the mend from the devastating knee injury that ended his career at the University of Georgia prematurely. Now, he’s one of the leading contenders for the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award.
“I didn’t expect to do this well, but at the end of the day, it didn’t really surprise me,” Gurley said. “I put in the hard work and my teammates helped me come back and do a great a job.”
He ranks third in the NFL with 1,023 yards rushing this season, despite not making his debut until Week 3, and leads all rookies with his 1,204 yards from scrimmage.
“I asked Todd what he was doing a year ago yesterday,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, “and he was three weeks post-op and did he ever think at that point, a year ago yesterday, that he would have been voted to the Pro Bowl. I think that speaks volumes of him. His teammates are also to be recognized for that. The offensive linemen and then of course our training staff to get him back and put him in that position. This will be the first of many for him, so I’m really happy for him.”
The Rams picked Gurley with the expectation that he would be the centerpiece of their offense going forward. He’s probably been better than they could expected when they picked him last spring.
Now, after a debut season that has placed him among the best running backs in the league already, the expectations have been raised. Fisher said he thinks Gurley will be even better next year.
“That’s what we’re expecting,” the veteran coach said. “We’ll finish up strong the last two weeks and then he’ll get a chance to go over and compete with the best in the league, and then he’s going to need to take some time off. But, knowing him, he’ll be back in early and be getting ready for year two.”