Falcons' Dirk Koetter on Todd Gurley: 'No One Seems to Know' His Health Status

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2020

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said Thursday he's not sure where running back Todd Gurley stands physically after lingering concerns about his left knee during the past few years with the Los Angeles Rams.

"The main question, that no one seems to know, is what is his health status?" Koetter told reporters.

Gurley signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Falcons in April.

The 25-year-old University of Georgia product earned three Pro Bowl selections across five years with the Rams while establishing himself as one of the most effective dual-threat running backs in the NFL.

His typically heavy workload started to decline late in the 2018 campaign, however, and he recorded just 16 touches over the team's final two games of that season's playoffs, including L.A.'s loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

Although Gurley made 15 appearances for the Rams last season, he posted career-low totals in both carries (223) and rushing yards (857). His 3.8 yards per carry represented a significant drop from the career-high 4.9 he recorded in 2018.

The Maryland native said after signing with the Falcons the knee isn't an issue.

"I know I'm still that guy," Gurley told reporters. "Been doing this my whole life. It's just football."

Koetter, who's entering his second season guiding the Atlanta offense, doesn't sound so sure.

"We'll find out his health after he gets here," he said. "He's saying all the right things. ... I know he's excited and all the Georgia Bulldogs fans are excited. We'll just see. The question is his health. We'll have to see."

Koetter added: "He had two seasons where he was arguably the best running back in football. When he's at his best, he's got speed, he's got power...we all see what he can do. We just gotta see how healthy he is, and how consistently he can do it."

The Falcons don't have any proven depth behind Gurley. Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison and Ito Smith are the top reserve options on the roster.

Devonta Freeman, who spent the past six years in Atlanta, remains a free agent after being released in March. He could be a fallback option should concerns persist about his replacement's health.