The Falcons’ decision to sign Todd Gurley to a 1-year deal almost 8 months ago was met with rabid excitement by some (I’m looking at you, Georgia Football fans) and healthy skepticism by others. Through 9 games, Gurley has racked up 9 rushing touchdowns (2nd) and 584 rushing yards (5th). Those numbers pop but they can’t overshadow the paltry 3.7 yards/carry he’s averaged over that stretch. (I do think it’s fair to lay some of that blame at Dirk Koetter’s feet, for what that’s worth.)
Gurley made an appearance this week on Truss Levelz, a podcast hosted by Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram. Truss Levelz is hosted on The Players’ Tribune network, a media platform founded by Derek Jeter in 2014 that focuses on putting out first-person stories from athletes.
Gurley’s conversation with Jordan and Ingram last for nearly an hour and covered a wide range of topics. It’s definitely worth a listen, if you have just north of 50 minutes to spare.
This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but Gurley actually qualified for a spot on the USA track and field team back in the day.
“This track coach I knew told me to come to Myrtle Beach and run. So we go to South Carolina, we did the race down there, I guess that was the pre-trial to qualify for the USA team and I ended up winning. Next thing I know they were like ‘do you got your passport? we’re about to go to Italy for a week’”
Gurley was fast enough to earn track offers from some Ivy League schools, which is a pretty big deal when you’re a kid from Tarboro, North Carolina with humble roots.
“I did get a Ivy League offer for Track from Princeton and Cornell ... a kid in from the hood in North Carolina, nobody makes it to an Ivy League school so I was like I’m definitely going here ... Had I done that I would have been y’all sound engineer on this podcast.”
Gurley wasn’t always a running back. But like any good running back is apt to do, when he saw an opening, Gurley took advantage.
“When I started I was a second-string quarter back and defensive end. My number was 87 ... but my boy cussed the coach out the next week, I got number 1 and it’s been on ever since ...”
Hearing Gurley chop it up with his peers is interesting and worth your time. He may or may not be back with the team next year—-that remains to be seen. But Gurley’s leadership and experience has been invaluable in a locker room teetering on the edge.