Todd Gurley to begin training camp on NFI list


As expected, rookie running back Todd Gurley will begin his time with the Rams on the NFI list according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. The NFI list is the Non Football Injury list, and Gurley can be removed from this list at any point without penalty. Even though optimism was high for Gurley in recent weeks, this seemed like it was the plan since Gurley was drafted back in April.

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Although there haven’t been any reports of a setback with Gurley and his receovery program, it seems St. Louis is playing this one close to the chest. Gurley, drafted tenth overall in this years draft, is an explosive talent and was considered by many to be the best running back in the draft even after a severe ACL injury ended his college career at Georgia. With hopes of riding Gurley to relevancy it’s no surprise the Rams are taking it slow.

Head coach Jeff Fisher stated “you could probably assume” Gurley would play sooner rather than later once camp began. For now, it is presumed running back Tre Mason will safely assume all first team reps as camp is set to begin at the end of the month.

May 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) looks on during rookie minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The distinction of the NFI list is applicable here because the injury that Gurley suffered was not a cause of play in the NFL. College injuries are applicable under the NFI criteria. Willis McGahee spent his entire rookie season on the list in Buffalo after suffering a knee injury in his final college game.

Gurley played three season with the Georgia Bulldogs amassing almost 3,300 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. He ran for over 1,300 yards in 2012 alone. Gurley is an explosive back with powerful legs and relies on his ability to break tackles for huge gains. He also has the ability to make moves in space, all the more reason to take things slow with his knee.

There was criticism and praise when Gurley was taken by the Rams in this years draft. Some analysts thought the Rams should have selected offensive line help, others a defensive back, but Fisher looks to getting back to his ground game roots and needed a top flight running back to do so. Former teammate Zac Stacy took the news of Gurley becoming a Ram so well, he requested a trade and was eventually moved to the New York Jets. That move alone certainly eludes to the type of impact that Gurley can provide.

Gurley will certainly be met with very high expectations when he does finally suit up. St. Louis is smart to hold him out until he is fully healthy if they want to get the most out of this young back.