‘It’s a bummer.’ Rams running back Sony Michel retires from football

Rams running back Sony Michel jogs off the field after a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium.
Rams running back Sony Michel jogs off the field after a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 5, 2021. Michel, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2022, told coach Sean McVay he is retiring.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

The Rams in June signed Sony Michel, seemingly ending their search for a veteran running back to mentor and play behind Cam Akers.

The search, once again, is on.

Michel will retire from football, Rams coach Sean McVay announced Saturday after practice at UC Irvine.

“He has clarity and feels at peace with the decision,” McVay said, adding, “I was sad for us, but I was happy for him. He gave a lot to this game and can be really proud.”


Michel, 28, was in his second stint with the Rams.

Receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Matthew Stafford showed at Rams training camp that they have appeared to regain form since their injuries last season.

July 28, 2023

The former Georgia star, a first-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2018, scored a touchdown in the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. In 2021, after Akers suffered an Achilles injury on the eve of training camp, the Rams traded for Michel, and he was an integral part of the Rams’ late-season run to a Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.

“Just being back around him in these last couple days, you just appreciate the influence that he has, the way that he works,” McVay said, adding, “He was a hugely instrumental piece for our Super Bowl team a couple years ago.”

Michel signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2022 but he was cut before the opener. He played in seven games for the Chargers, rushing for 106 yards in 36 carries.

Michel rushed for 3,243 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in five NFL seasons.

McVay said he met with Michel on Saturday morning.

Matthew Stafford acknowledged the Rams approached him about his contract during the spring, and was aware teams inquired about trading for him.

July 27, 2023

“It’s a bummer,” McVay said, “but his body’s feeling like it’s talking to him.”

Michel’s departure leaves the Rams with Akers, second-year pro Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers and rookie Zach Evans in a group under new running backs coach Ron Gould.

Last season, McVay exiled Akers for several games, but Akers returned and finished with three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.