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Todd Gurley says no-contact beanie is gone but must remain patient

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Saturday that running back Todd Gurley won't play in the season-opener Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. That was only the confirmation of what had been known as the Rams continue to take a cautious approach with the No. 10 overall pick.

In the past, Fisher has indicated an awareness that the day would come when Gurley believes he's ready and the Rams say not quite. That moment appears to be near if it's not already here.

On Monday, Gurley said he officially shed the yellow no-contact beanie he'd been wearing in practice late last week. Whether that means he's actually cleared for full contact isn't necessarily clear. The Rams don't go full-contact in practice anyway, so Gurley's first real hit will have to wait until his first game action.

For his part, Gurley says there's nothing at this point that he can't do on the practice field.

"I can do everything," Gurley said. "The beanie is off so I’m good."

In his mind, Gurley is good to go after a lengthy rehabilitation from the torn left ACL he suffered at Georgia last November. Clearly, the Rams haven't quite reached that stage yet after having Gurley sit out the entire preseason and Fisher announcing Saturday that Gurley will not play against the Seahawks.

It's a tough concept for Gurley to accept considering how he feels, but he remains understanding of the team's choice even if it's through gritted teeth.

"I would definitely want to be playing but like I said I knew it was going to be a long journey," Gurley said. "You’ve got to be patient but when the time comes, it comes. I’ll be ready for it.

“I’ve been waiting this long, so why not wait a couple more weeks or so?"

Exactly how much longer Gurley has to wait remains to be seen as he continues to put the finishing touches on his rehab. Although he says he's no longer limited on the field, there's still work for him to do in the training room. For the past few weeks, Gurley's rehab has turned from getting the ACL back to full strength and focused on strengthening the body parts that support it.

That means more time spent on things like balance boards in an effort to strengthen his quadriceps and hamstrings. Those have been staples of his rehab anyway, but they've had extra emphasis in the past few weeks.

The Rams still won't put a definitive date or game on when Gurley could return but it seems that signs are pointing to it happening sometime in the near future. When he does, it's likely his role will be limited as he gets used to taking hits again, but Gurley is approaching each day the same way.

"[I try] to come out here and prepare like I was playing week 1," Gurley said. "Just try to get back into game shape, work hard every day because you never know what could happen."