The Atlanta Falcons’ signing of former University of Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley has plenty of football fans fired up for whenever pro football returns.
During his three seasons at Georgia, Gurley ran for 3,285 yards and accounted for 42 touchdowns, before skipping his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. He was chosen 10th overall by the St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Gurley was release by the Rams on Thursday, March 19, after five seasons with the team. While with the Rams, Gurley was named to three Pro Bowls, won NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015.
On the day of the signing, WJBF spoke with former Aquinas High School and UGA running back Brendan Douglas. Douglas was teammates with Gurley for two seasons in Athens, from 2013-’14.
“I’m happy for him,” said Douglas. “I think he’s coming home and I think he’s excited to come home. So, it’ll be fun to watch for sure,” Douglas added.
Douglas isn’t concerned with Gurley’s ability to bounce back from injuries, which slowed his production during his final two seasons with Los Angeles.
“You know he battled a couple injuries at Georgia and really recovered well from them,” said Douglas. “I remember he tore his ACL in 2014, and honestly, the next year was his best year after that in the league. I think his rookie year, he just went off,” said Douglas.
Douglas, who himself measured 5’11, 215 pounds while playing running back and special teams at UGA, remembers being wowed by Gurley from the first day of practice in Athens.
“It was amazing,” said Douglas. “I mean, he’s just a freak of nature. He’s just the most naturally gifted athlete that I had ever seen, and that I ever saw at Georgia for sure,” added Douglas.
He couldn’t pinpoint one specific Gurley play that stands out because, as he puts it, there were so many.
“He had a lot of moments like that,” said Douglas. “Maybe he’d be having a bad practice and he’d get a little frustrated or something. And then all of the sudden, he’d just flip a switch and he was by far the best player on the field. A coach would get on to him or he would get upset or whatever, then all of a sudden he would just go off and and have these crazy runs where he’s breaking four or five tackles here or there and that’s when I was just like, wow,” Douglas continued.
Douglas noted what a great teammate Gurley and all the running backs he played with were in Athens. “I mean just a great friend,” he said. “I shot him a text earlier today and said congratulations, and he hit me back. You know just a guy who is a team player, and really cares about everybody,” he added.
Douglas, who lives and works in Atlanta, also played at UGA with current NFL running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Growing up a Falcons fan, Douglas says he can’t ‘wait to make a trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gurley play and he’ll be ready to show his support.
“”You know, I’m not a big jersey guy, I don’t buy a lot of jerseys,” he said laughing. “
“But as soon as I heard the news today, I was like yeah, I definitely need to get me a Todd Gurley jersey for sure,” said Douglas.
You can be sure there will be plenty of Falcons and Bulldogs fans who will do the same.
PICTURES AND VIDEOS USED IN THE STORY ARE COURTESY OF UGA ATHLETICS