Advertisement
Rams

Todd Gurley’s left knee doesn’t hinder Rams star in first training camp workout

Rams running back Todd Gurley carries the ball during the opening of training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday.
Rams running back Todd Gurley carries the ball during the opening of training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday. Is Gurley back to his old self?
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As the Rams began their first training camp workout at UC Irvine on Saturday, much of the attention centered on Todd Gurley’s left knee.

It marked the first time the star running back was on the field with teammates since the Rams’ Super Bowl defeat by the New England Patriots. It was also the first time — after months of speculation about the condition that sidelined him for two games and slowed him during the NFC championship game and the Super Bowl — that he could publicly demonstrate his fitness.

Gurley was a full participant in about 60 minutes of the 90-minute workout, moving fast without hesitation.

“Just doing what I do,” he told reporters afterward.

Advertisement

If Gurley feels soreness Sunday, it might be in his hands after executing so many fist bumps. The fifth-year pro appeared to make sure he reacquainted with or encouraged just about every one of his 87 teammates.

“It’s cool just to be around the boys — haven’t seen those guys in a long time,” said Gurley, who was held out of offseason team workouts. “So just being out here, hanging with those guys, is cool.”

Gurley, who signed an extension that includes $45 million in guarantees before last season, is still regarded as the centerpiece of an offense that features quarterback Jared Goff, receivers Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp and tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee.

Gurley drew cheers from fans the moment he walked onto the field. He joked with cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib during stretching exercises and then ran hard in drills. The crowd erupted in cheers again when he caught a swing pass, one of several receptions during individual, seven-on-seven and full-team drills.

Advertisement

The Los Angeles Rams have extended the contracts of coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead through the 2023 season.

On Gurley’s final play of the day, he was a decoy on a long pass that Goff completed to Higbee. That elicited another fist bump from Gurley before he exited to the sideline. Trainer Reggie Scott put his arm around Gurley, indicating his day was done.

Gurley looked like his old self, Goff said. Gurley’s knee is “not much of an issue,” but Goff acknowledged that “everyone asks me about it every single day.”

“I can’t imagine what he’s dealing with, and then he comes out here and just is the same guy, the same pro, and looks exactly the same as he has the last two years,” Goff said. “I’m excited for him. … Finally has some doubters maybe.

“I’m excited for him to put some of those people to rest.”

Joked Gurley: “Y’all have got to stop putting this bad energy in my knee, man. Just let it be.”

Gurley, the 2017 NFL offensive player of the year and a three-time Pro Bowl selection, said he has nothing to prove.

“I’ve been doing this for years now,” he said.

Advertisement

Media reports and online speculation about his knee do not bother him — “It’s the internet. Like, how serious can you take the internet?” he said — so he is not distracted.

Gurley’s movement and workload, like all players, will be monitored using digital tracking data. He is expected to be given “veteran” days off during camp, head coach Sean McVay said.

And, once again, Gurley will not play during preseason games so that he will be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against the Carolina Panthers.

Rams running back Todd Gurley prepares to put his helmet on during training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday.
Rams running back Todd Gurley prepares to put his helmet on during training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Gurley said he intends to continue “playing for my teammates, playing for wins, playing for the Super Bowl.” He welcomes the plan to monitor his training camp workload.

“When it’s time to work, it’s time to work,” he said. “When it’s time to sit back and relax, I need to do my part as well, making sure I’m ready, getting mentally prepared and just staying focused helping other guys out.”

Congrats all around

Goff and Gurley congratulated McVay and general manager Les Snead on the contract extensions they received through the 2023 season.

Snead said Friday that “It’s not a matter of if, it’s just when,” in regard to an extension for Goff.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence and makes me feel good,” Goff said. “At the same time, I understand how it works. And just go out and play and do what I do and let that take care of itself.”

Goff said it does not matter if a deal is done before the season starts.

Advertisement

“I’m interested in winning games, and whatever the best way to do that is, is what I’m for,” he said.

Etc.

Kupp, coming off knee surgery, looked strong throughout practice. He made a tough catch between two defenders, raising his confidence. “I know there’s a lot of work ahead still,” he said. “Just because you’re cleared doesn’t mean you’re there yet. I’m excited to continue to attack this thing.”… Defensive lineman Aaron Donald engaged with fans before and after his first training camp workout since 2016. Donald, who signed a $135-million extension before last season, had sat out the last two camps because of a contract dispute. … Goff completed several impressive passes to Woods, one during a seven-on-seven drill that was just out of Talib’s reach. A few plays later, Talib intercepted a pass intended for Woods in the end zone. … For the second year in a row, the Rams reworked Woods’ contract. The Rams folded what would have been money earned through incentives this season into guaranteed money, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Woods has a salary-cap number of about $7.2 million this season, according to overthecap.com.


Advertisement