The hook came for Todd Gurley on Thursday. The Los Angeles Rams turned the once-treasured running back onto the streets after deeming him too battered, beaten and expensive to justify keeping on their roster.
The move hardly comes as a surprise given both the decline that Gurley displayed in his fifth pro season and the $10.5 million in guaranteed pay that his continued presence with the Rams would have triggered.
Gurley’s release serves as a painful reminder both of the cold world that is the business side of the NFL and the brutality of life as a running back.
It’s also another reminder of why players at his position do everything possible to ensure their long-term financial security, even if it draws outside criticism.
It wasn’t long ago that Gurley boasted one of the most dominant and well-rounded games in the NFL. He was the perfect fit for coach Sean McVay’s offense; the ideal security blanket for young quarterback Jared Goff.
With his impressive blend of size, strength, speed, athleticism and instincts, the 6-1, 224-pound Gurley gashed defenses for 1,305 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017, adding 788 receiving yards and six more touchdowns in the passing game while spearheading the Rams’ rapid rise to prominence. The next season — months after the Rams rewarded him with a four-year, $57.5 million contract that featured a record $45 million in guaranteed money — he racked up another 1,251 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, along with 580 receiving yards and four scores as a pass catcher.