After a two-week game of cat-and-mouse with the media, Rams coach Jeff Fisher informed Gurley on Saturday that he would be playing in his first game after recovering from the torn left ACL he suffered on Nov. 15, 2014, while a member of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Gurley entered the game for his first NFL snap with 13 minutes left in the second quarter. He got his first carry and took his first hit right after, running off left tackle for a gain of 2 yards. It had been a wait of 316 days.
"I knew I was going to be fine after that," Gurley said. "It definitely felt good to just be back out there on the field again."
Although Gurley said he was not on a prescribed plan for touches or carries in his debut, he spent most of the day alternating with starting running back Tre Mason. Gurley finished with six carries for 9 yards and a catch for 5 yards.
After the Rams' 12-6 loss, Gurley said he didn't feel rusty going into the game but acknowledged that he will need some time to get back up to full speed.
"It's just the first game," Gurley said. "I've got to get in the groove of things.
"I feel like I've still got the explosiveness. I definitely didn't get to show it today but like I said, we'll pick back up on things and try to get things rolling next week."
Monday will also bring Gurley's first chance to see how his knee reacts to going through the rigors of an NFL game. Gurley said he doesn't expect much soreness or at least "nothing that the cold tub won't help."
Gurley had been practicing with the first-team offense for the past two weeks but didn't get many opportunities in the week before the game against Washington. He was inactive last week after being listed as questionable on the injury report.
This week, Gurley didn't appear on the team's Wednesday injury report, but the Rams had to add him back Thursday because of a league rule that dictates teams can't remove a player who was on the previous week's injury report without that player being active for a game.
The Rams again listed Gurley as questionable on Friday but by that point, there had been enough signs indicating that he'd be ready to play. He even flew family members in for the game on Saturday.
Quarterback Nick Foles said it was good to have the No. 10 overall pick back in the fold.
"It's great to have him out there," Foles said. "It's great to have him healthy. Your first rookie game, it's always a lot of emotions. Just having him out there is going to be a huge threat. We have talented running backs and he's going to add to it. Once he really gets going, it's going to be something to see."
As for pregame jitters, Gurley said he wasn't thrown off by the 30-minute delay after the field caught on fire and didn't have any trouble getting to sleep.
"I definitely slept," Gurley said. "I went to sleep at 9:30 last night. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I had to get ready."