EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Perhaps it was fitting that St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley's first two reps in team drills consisted of a fake handoff to him to set up a play-action pass and a toss sweep to the left that got him into open space.
Both figure to be staples of the Rams' offense in 2015 and beyond. For now, they were just the next step on Gurley's road to recovery from the torn left ACL he suffered in November of last year.
“I haven’t done nothing like this in like, nine months, 10 months," Gurley said. "So it’s been a while. I’m definitely excited about it.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher and his staff informed Gurley that he'd been cleared to return to practice in seven-on-seven and team drills a couple days ago. Since, he'd been champing at the bit to get back on the field and do more than just the individual work and side sessions with athletic trainers that had been his staple in this training camp.
After doing some light work in seven-on-seven, the Rams installed Gurley with the first-team offense at about 5:18 p.m. CT. Quarterback Nick Foles faked a handoff to Gurley and threw downfield. On the next play, Gurley got the ball on a pitch, darting to the left.
To Fisher's eye, all was well for Gurley on his first day involved in all aspects of practice.
"Todd was excited to get in there and get a few offensive reps and get challenged with protections and formations and all that stuff," Fisher said. "He was good and we'll just continue to probably do this for the next few days and then we'll just add reps for him as we move forward."
As expected, Gurley wore the yellow "no contact" beanie on his helmet after receiver Brian Quick removed it permanently Tuesday morning. Quick handed it off to Gurley in a short but quick ceremony.
"It makes sense that defensive guys recognize that Todd's not quite ready yet but he's getting close," Fisher said. "It's good to have him back on the field. We got him a few reps with team."
While Quick, who Fisher said is cleared from his shoulder injury and will play Saturday night against Indianapolis, hated the yellow beanie, Gurley actually likes it better than some of the alternatives.
“The good thing about that is you can’t see it," Gurley said. "In college we’d wear red jerseys. It was definitely better than wearing a red jersey or anything like that.”
Soon enough, Gurley will be able to wear a helmet without any unnecessary accessories and a normal jersey like the rest of his teammates. It remains to be seen when that will happen. But for now, progress is progress and Tuesday was a sweep left in the right direction.