The Detroit Lions have continued interest in Todd Gurley after meeting with the former All-Pro running back at the team’s facility last week.
“Yeah, look, we have interest in Todd,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said ahead of Thursday’s OTA practice. “We do and we’re talking with him and his agent.”
Campbell went on to say the team’s interest in Gurley, 26, was not a reflection on the organization’s feelings about their top two running backs, D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.
“Just because we have interest in (Gurley), that does not affect our feeling and our thoughts on both Swift and Jamaal,” Campbell said.
The Lions drafted Swift in the second round last season and he projects as the team’s lead back after racking up 878 yards from scrimmage and scoring 10 touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie last season.
Williams, 26, was a top free-agent target for the Lions this offseason after spending his first four years with the Packers where he averaged 737 yards from scrimmage and 4.5 touchdowns.
Campbell said there’s no deadline on getting a deal done with Gurley, but it’s something he’d like to get done sooner than later.
Gurley, the No. 10 pick in the 2015 draft, was a first-team All-Pro in both 2017 and 2018. But his production has slipped in recent years. In 2019, in his final year with the Rams, he averaged 3.8 yards per carry. Last season, with the Atlanta Falcons, that dipped even further, to 3.5 yards per attempt and his 842 yards from scrimmage a career-low.
“Todd is a young man, at one time, he was considered one of the best in the game,” offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. “He has a wealth of experience he can pass along to our young backs and hopefully he’s got some juice left. If he’s a Lion, we’ll figure out a way to use him. I’ve heard nothing but great things about his intangibles. For what Dan’s trying to get done here, culture-wise, I think he’d be a good fit.”
Running backs and assistant head coach Duce Staley echoed Lynn’s sentiments.
Oh man, Todd Gurley, the name — you sit back and say his name and all kind of highlights just pop up,” Staley said. “Here’s a guy who’s been very successful in the league. Here’s a guy, you go back a couple of years ago, was unstoppable. We’re looking at anyone who can help the Lions, and Todd Gurley definitely can help the Lions. His leadership, with Jamaal’s leadership in the room, just being able to go out there and have fun. I know the kid, the kid loves the game, he’d be a good addition.”
Swift, who like Gurley, played for the University of Georgia, would also love to see the veteran added to the backfield mix here in Detroit.
“A lot of knowledge, experience,” Swift said about what Gurley could bring to the Lions. “I’d be happy if he come here as well. I just wanna compete with these guys. Just having him in the building would be good.”