Not long ago, Todd Gurley was the most electric running back in the NFL.
Last season at 27 years old, he didn't play a down while his former Los Angeles Rams won their first Super Bowl since returning to California. He enjoyed the show. But Gurley says that he doesn't wish that he was on the field.
"There was never not one time where I watched a game and was like, ‘I wish I was out there,’" Gurley recently told NBC. "I appreciated my time in the league, and I've done things I could have never even dreamed about."
Gurley spoke with NBC while promoting the Fan Controlled Football League after taking an ownership stake last week in the Beasts, a team that also includes Marshawn Lynch among its owners. The startup league that counts Johnny Manziel and 48-year-old Terrell Owens among its players lets fans call plays, among making other day-to-to-day decisions.
As far as actual football goes, Gurley doesn't sound like he's quite ruled out an NFL return. But he's happy for now to leave the rigors of the NFL lifestyle behind.
"Football-wise, just taking it day-by-day," Gurley said. "Being part of ownership groups of different companies, that's what I'm focusing on. Spending a lot more time with my family. I ain't worried about no football. I keep it real with you. I'm chilling and enjoying myself."
Would Gurley consider NFL return if a team made the call?
Gurley hasn't played since 2020, when he started 15 games for the Atlanta Falcons. He averaged a career-low 3.5 yards per carry in Atlanta and remained unsigned for the entirety of the 2021 season. Previously, he spent five seasons with the Rams, where he was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, twice led the NFL in touchdowns and led the league in 2017 with 2,093 yards from scrimmage.
It was the start of what looked like a surefire Hall of Fame career before repeated knee injuries started to take a toll on his body, limiting his production and availability at just 24 years old. He hasn't been the same player since a stunning tepid performance that saw him tally just 35 rushing yards in a Super Bowl LIII loss to the New England Patriots after the 2018 season.
Now Gurley appears at peace with his post-football career. But running back remains a position of attrition in the NFL. When teams in 2022 start to lose players to injury, will one be tempted to reach out to the two-time All-Pro? If so, will Gurley answer the call?