The COVID-19 pandemic has kept non-rehabbing players away from their team facilities for nearly three months now. Organized team activities and mandatory minicamps have been replaced by position meetings on Zoom and makeshift workouts at local turfs.
For longtime teammates, the time away might not be detrimental. But for newcomers trying to develop a rapport and rhythm with their new squad, the forced separation this spring could be adverse to their integration into an unfamiliar culture.
That is apparently not the case for Todd Gurley and the Atlanta Falcons.
Quarterback Matt Ryan told ESPN this week that he and Gurley have worked out together in Southern California, along with other Falcons vets and newcomers, in recent weeks and that he is already taken with the two-time All-Pro RB.
"I've gotten to work with Todd and he's awesome,'' Ryan told ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "Really, really good guy. A hard worker. He's super-smart. The stuff I was telling him one day, the next day he had it done. I was really impressed with his ability to retain information. You don't have to tell him twice. He's on it.''
Gurley, still in Los Angeles after the Rams released him this offseason, signed a one-year deal with the Falcons in March. His workouts with Ryan have occurred in Huntington Beach, the QB told ESPN, and constitute some of the first action anyone from the Falcons has seen Gurley partake in since signing him. After all, the RB has yet to take his physical.
Bothered by a knee injury since late in the 2018 season, Gurley will be followed by questions about his health throughout the offseason, or until he proves he's back to his Offensive Player of the Year self when the 2020 season kicks off.
Gurley's new quarterback is convinced that the RB will jell quickly with Atlanta on the field.
"I think he's going to be an awesome fit for us," Ryan said. "And I'm glad we have him."
While coaches can return to their facilities as of Friday, players are still not allowed to enter the premises unless they are rehabbing. Meaning for the foreseeable future, those not in attendance at Ryan and Gurley's beach-adjacent workouts will have to take their word for it that things are going swimmingly.