Gurley: playing vs. Cardinals in London “doesn’t make sense”
BAGSHOT, England (AP) — Todd Gurley isn’t buying this NFL in London business.
The Los Angeles Rams running back arrived with the team in London on Friday after an overnight flight from Florida, where they spent the week following their win over Jacksonville last Sunday.
Gurley said that’s simply too much travel to take on the Arizona Cardinals, a division rival from a neighboring state.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Gurley told reporters after the team’s practice session at their luxury resort outside London. “We play Arizona; it’s a 45-minute flight. But instead we’ve got Arizona and us (here). If we were to travel all the way from L.A. it’s 13 hours to travel, when you can just travel 45 minutes. But hey, whatever floats their boat.”
That would be the boat of NFL bosses who are using these games to grow the game’s brand in the UK and beyond.
This is the 10th year that the league has staged its International Series in the British capital, which has grown from one game a year in 2007 to four games this season. The Rams also came over last year and — like most teams who have played in London — have largely stuck to the script about it being a positive experience.
Gurley, though, was even more outspoken Thursday before getting on the plane, saying the overseas games “need to stop.”
In contrast, quarterback Jared Goff was among those insisting he was happy to be in London.
But he was bemused to hear that the outspoken Gurley was not.
“Did he (say that)? Great,” Goff said with a smile when told of the running back’s comments.
He also pointed out that it was actually Arizona who had cause for complaints, as they are the ones missing out on the 45-minute flight.
“It’s our home game. So, we have to play out here,” he said. “For the Cardinals to have to come out here is maybe a little bit rough for them. Definitely because I believe that would probably be their shortest road trip. But it’s part of expanding the league and I’m all for it. But I can understand why it can be a little bit rough for them.”
Head coach Sean McVay, who came here last year with the Washington Redskins, also did his best to talk down Gurley’s comments.
“I think what Todd was talking about was some of the challenges just from a semantic standpoint of getting out of your rhythm and your routine just traveling,” McVay said. “But the fans have been great; he’ll be the first to tell you that. It does offer a great opportunity to compete in a different place.”
Unlike the Rams, the Cardinals have spent most of the week in London in order to get adjusted to the time difference and climate ahead of Sunday’s game at Twickenham, the home of England’s national rugby team.
McVay said linebacker Mark Barron is doubtful for the game because of a thumb injury, while safety Cody Davis also is with a thigh problem.
A win would give the resurgent Rams a grip on the division and send them into their bye week on a high.
But they know their task was made a lot tougher with the Cardinals’ recent acquisition of running back Adrian Peterson, who put up 134 yards and two touchdowns on his debut with the team last weekend.
For nose tackle Michael Brockers, however, going up against Peterson is something to relish.
“You put us against a good back, and you talk about how good he is, how many yards he’s had in the game before us, we’re like: `OK, we want to see if he does that versus us,'” Brockers said. “We love this challenge and we look forward to stopping him.”