McVay: Todd Gurley 'feeling good,' not on pitch count

  • By Adam Maya
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No running back has carried a greater load over the past four seasons than Todd Gurley. But his lack of touches in the Rams' final two games from last season have led to an entire offseason of questions about what his role will be in 2019.

With that finally upon us, Rams coach Sean McVay was asked once more for old time's sake if Gurley would be on a pitch count in Sunday's season opener against the Panthers.

"Nope," McVay said, per ESPN. "... I'm excited to see Todd Gurley continue to do his thing. He looks good, he's feeling good and we're looking forward to Sunday."

How he performs and how much he actually plays will be closely monitored. Gurley was in contention for league MVP honors in each of the past two seasons, with his playing time and effectiveness fading in the latter. Gurley sat out Los Angeles' last two regular season games before breaking out for 115 rushing yards in the NFC Divisional Round against the Cowboys. That performance is often forgotten in the midst of his 45 combined rushing yards over the following two rounds against the Saints and Patriots.

Gurley's personal trainer stated in the offseason that the All-Pro back was dealing with arthritic issues stemming from an ACL tear in college. Neither Gurley nor the Rams have ever confirmed that report.

His usage was markedly different leading up to this season, beyond sitting out preseason games with the rest of Los Angeles' first-team offense. He reportedly practiced only every other day and shared many of the carries he'd typically claim with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, who the Rams drafted in the third round in April.

Sunday we'll better find out what to make of that selection and what to expect from Gurley moving forward. He told reporters Thursday his knee was fine and, as he has been wont to do amid all the questions this offseason, downplayed any desire to prove he's actually healthy.

"I'm not eager," Gurley said. "It's football, bro. Been playing it my whole life. It's just another season."