So is Todd Gurley dead or what?

It feels like every once in a while, we get a tiny snippet of information about Gurley, and it always gets worse. First he got hurt late in the season and missed some games. Then he helped destroy the Cowboys in the divisional round and had a great game. Then all of a sudden he vanished.

He had almost no action during the championship game against the Saints, leaving many people a little confused. A small level of concern developed leading into the Super Bowl. I saw reports he was fine. I saw reports that he was literally falling apart. The Super Bowl ended up favoring the latter argument, as Gurley did jack during the game, getting a depressing 35 yards on ten carries. Of course part of that can be attributed to the Patriots playing perfect defense and Sean McVay’s stubborn insistence on doing nothing about it, but it was hard to look at Gurley and not feel like something was very off.

Shortly after the bowl ended, we found out that Gurley has arthritis in his knee. That sounds…bad. I’m surprised more of a deal hasn’t been made about this. Gurley famously had a terrible knee injury in college (to the same knee) that involved the usual torn ACL. He’s been healthy in the NFL until this, but arthritis isn’t like an ACL tear. Arthritis is a swelling of your joints and stiffness, and it gets worse with age. Gurley is 24 and this is already a problem. Arthritis is a chronic issue.

I admittedly don’t actually know much about arthritis, especially injury related arthritis (which knee injuries can apparently cause in younger athletes), but is this a problem he can not worry about? Can you just heal arthritis? I was always under the impression once you had some arthritis, it is just there now, and you just have to take steps to manage it. If anybody knows more about this, please comment, because Gurley seems to think it’s no big deal but it seems like a big deal to me.

I can’t imagine a chronic swelling and stiffness is going to get better playing football. He’ll probably take a ton of drugs to keep swelling and pain minimized but that doesn’t help the problem, just hides it. Last year might have been the last we see of All-pro level Gurley. It feels like he’s headed for a cliff.