One year ago, the Los Angeles Rams were a threat to return to the Super Bowl after a 13-3 setback to the New England Patriots. In fact, the score was 3-3 late in the game and the Rams had multiple possessions to take the lead. Alas, they lost.
Let’s fast forward to today.
Todd Gurley, who signed a $60-million deal two seasons ago, was released by the Rams and quickly signed by the Atlanta Falcons.
“Damn I got fired on my day off,” he tweeted with an accompanying laughing-so-hard-I’m crying emoji.
The Rams also sent linebacker Clay Matthews packing, as the franchise deals with salary cap hell and long-term expensive commitments to All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, receiver Brandin Cooks and overpaid, unworthy quarterback Jared Goff.
If the Rams want to keep cornerback Jalen Ramsey after this season, the franchise will have to offer him a truck load of cash too.
Coach Sean McVay, who did not draft Gurley and inherited him when Jeff Fisher was fired, said “Todd Gurley will always be remembered as one of the all-time great Rams.”
GM Les Snead, who was instrumental is Gurley’s selection as a St. Louis Ram, said, “We knew he was going to be a one-of-a-kind talent that would create special moments.”
Gurley brought a suspect knee with him to St. Louis when he was drafted out of Georgia, but it didn’t slow him down until three seasons later. His production plummeted last year and that, and his contract, led to his release.
My guess is that the Falcons will run him into the ground next year. Then, Atlanta won’t re-sign him after the season because his chronic knee won’t stand up to the heavy use.
A really bad look
The Rams released three new logos on Monday.
One is simply “Los Angeles Rams” in block letters in the team’s new colors of blue and yellow. The Rams call the colors, “Rams Royal” and “Sol.”
OK, that’s cool.
But there also is a multi-colored Rams head that looks like an artist on LSD drew it up. Yet another has a Rams horn involved in the “L.A.” and it seems out of place and, well, ugly.
“We always looked at blue and yellow and white; we looked at a wide range of things around that as accent colors,” Rams COO Kevin Demoff told ESPN.
“But at the end of the day, that was one place we knew our fans weren’t going to compromise.”
The logos were leaked to ProFootballTalk and other media outlets last week and, rightfully, were blistered with criticism on social media.
With the color and logo changes, which were four years in the making, the Rams officially have nothing left from St. Louis – with the exception of Aaron Donald and a few other players.
I don’t carry the hate that many area fans still hold for the Rams, but I think we all agree that the new logos are flat-out awful
Ta’amu a Chief Concern
The short XFL season has paid off big-time for former St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu.
Ta’amu has signed with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
While a new Collective Bargaining Agreement passing last week includes an expansion of rosters and practice squad members, Ta’amu is not guaranteed a year of playing for Andy Reid and backing up Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs also have prospective quarterbacks Chad Henne and Kyle Shurmur on the roster.
With Ta’amu at the helm, the BattleHawks posted a 3-2 record and he was third in passing with 1,050 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ta’amu was the second XFL quarterback to land a quarterback.
Houston quarterback P.J. Walker, who was the XFL’s top MVP candidate when the season ended for the 5-0 Roughnecks, reached a multi-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.
Walker played for Panthers first-year head coach Matt Rhule when both were at Temple, before Rhule moved on to Baylor
Walker completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,338 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Unlike, Ta’amu, Walker does have some NFL experience. He was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2017 and ’18 seasons, mostly as a practice squad player.
Terms of Walker or Ta’amu’s respective contracts were released, but the NFL Network reported that Walker received a $150,000 signing bonus.
Walker likely made a total of $46,575 during the XFL season. All players received a base salary of $27,040. Walker earned another $8,425 in playing in five games, and then another $11,110 for winning all five games.
My MLB strategy
Let’s take a wild guess and say the Major League Baseball season has Opening Day on June 1.
I say play scrap interleague play all together in 2020.
Then, regardless of division, have each National and American League team play the other 14 teams in their respective leagues six times – three on the road three at home.
That comes to 84 games, three more than half of a season.
Since all teams have played one another the same amount of times, don’t have a Wild Card series.
The top five teams from each league would be in the postseason. Team four and team five would play in a best of three series to advance, with team 4 being host to all games.
Team 1 from each respective league would play team the winner of that first series. Teams two and three would play. These would be best of seven series.
The winners would play in a best of seven series to advance to the World Series.
There ya go. Simple and sustainable.
A big hurdle to leap
At 35, East St. Louis High School graduate and Olympic hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson has been training for a berth on the U.S. Olympic team and another shot a prized medal.
But her plans have been placed on hold – not eliminated – by the International Olympic Committee’s postponement of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo until 2021.
She called the announcement “shocking,” but also told the Belleville News-Democrat that her comeback attempt is not over, just delayed.
“With everything going on and all the events around the world being canceled, we kept hearing and about the possibility of the Olympics being postponed,” she said.
But these are the Olympics and it’s been around for so long. We didn’t think it would happen.”
Unfortunately for Harper-Nelson thousands of athletes worldwide, it is as real as the Corona virus.
The Reid Roundup
Wherever he was on Monday, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott probably felt a disturbance in The Force when All-Pro center Travis Frederick surprisingly announced his retirement…What if the NBA decided to take the top 16 teams based on records when the season was suspended, seeded them 1-16 regardless of conference and played an NCAA styled tournament? You lose and you’re out. Now THAT would be fun to watch...It took too long to come to its decision, but the International Olympic Committee is right to postpone the Summer Olympics for one year and try again in 2021…Pierre Desir, a star at Francis Howell Central who later caught NFL scouts’ eyes at Lindenwood University, was cut by the Indianapolis Colts and immediately signed by the New York Jets to fill a starting cornerback role…All-Pro receiver Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Bucs told the world how happy he is that Tom Brady is now his starting quarterback. In an XBOX interview, Evans said, "I've played six years in the NFL and I haven't been to the playoffs yet. Tom Brady has won six Super Bowls. Bro, I've been on that Hennessy, man. I'm drinking, I got Tom Brady, you know what I'm saying?"…Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning has reportedly turned down a $20 million gig doing Monday Night Football on ESPN.
Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1