Todd Gurley’s tenure with the LA Rams ended much sooner than anyone would have expected and he has now become a classic tale of “what if?”
Rewind to October of 2018. Todd Gurley is coming off of a career season in which he garnered MVP votes, was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year and led the entire league in rushing yards. Gurley tears up the Denver Broncos, carrying the ball 28 times for 208 yards with two touchdowns. He also has four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Todd Gurley is the best running back in football, there are no questions asked. Le’Veon Bell is in the middle of his year-long holdout, Christian McCaffrey is one season away from breaking out and Gurley is putting together an MVP-caliber first half.
Gurley was on pace for 1,600 rushing yards, 700 receiving yards, 22 rushing touchdowns and eight receiving touchdowns after eight games. He would have joined LaDainian Tomlinson as the second player in NFL history to have 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 30 combined touchdowns in a single season.
Then issues with his knee started to flare up. The LA Rams used him sparingly at the end of the season, continued to use him sparingly in the playoffs, and it came out in the offseason that he had tendinitis in his knee.
Heading into 2019, nobody knew what to expect out of Gurley. He was fine, but he was noticeably not the same running back from 2018 and the Rams were using him less as a result of it.
Just a year and a half after Gurley was the consensus best running back in the league, the LA Rams released him to save salary cap space. Gurley was due a massive contract, the Rams opted against it, taking a dead cap hit in 2020 to save more money down the road.
While Gurley’s impact on the franchise will forever be felt, as he helped the team get to the Super Bowl, he will still go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in franchise history. He is only 25 years old and there is a reality in which he carves out a long and fruitful career.
Here are some other iconic players in the history of the LA Rams that left every Ram fan wondering “what if?”