With the football season moving into a frenzy, I wanted to catch up with Gillette Ambassador and L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley to find out what he does to stay cool and focused. Todd’s career took off at Georgia College, where he earned All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013. Gurley rushed for 1,106 yards in his rookie season and was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press.
A multi-faceted and multi-sporting personality, Todd has achieved accolades as a world-class hurdler and sprinter; and was a three-sport star in football, track, and basketball during college. According to Todd, the odds weren’t always stacked in his favor, and he had to learn the drive, determination, and the decision-making skills necessary to make it to the NFL.
Keep reading to find out how Todd followed his passion and make it all the way to the NFL, with the same uncertainties you face right now.
A former coach once told you “keep the main thing,” can you explain what he meant by that?
Keep the main thing is all about always handling your priorities. My friends are always around, and they keep me tight; they make sure I’m not out drinking all night, I’m up for breakfast, and ready to take on a new day. When it’s off-season, that’s the time to go out and do all that stuff.
How do you keep focused during the season and everyone is vying for your attention?
Make sure you hang around with the right crowd. Keeping the right people around you keep me focused. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter what everyone else does, you must make your decisions.
How do you perform under pressure?
When it’s time to make a play, I must mentally be ready to turn a switch on. I find myself talking to myself sometimes, telling myself, “Alright Todd, it’s time to get game-ready, you have to put on your game face now.” Or when I’m in a team huddle, I’ll tell people, “You’re the executioner of your mistakes,” to help them be accountable for their actions.
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Sometimes I’ll play old school music – maybe some classical, or gospel music. I enjoy the pre-game food. I don’t have a ritual.
How do you respond to negative reactions when people meet you?
It’s funny, sometimes people say, “Oh, well he has a $50 million contract, he’s not stressing,” but it doesn’t matter how much money you make. You could be making $50,000 or $500 million, and you are still going to feel stress, and have pressure put on you. Just because I earn a certain amount or have certain opportunities, it doesn’t mean I don’t have hard days just like anyone else does. I just focus on trying to improve myself and focus on what I’m doing.
Do you remember when you knew football was going to be your life calling?
I’ve always played football. From as young as I can remember, we played football out in the streets; my friends, my older brothers, we would play together, but it wasn’t until High School when I got my first offer that I realized football might help me go to college. During college, I kept thinking that maybe there could be a future in football, but I never really thought it would happen.
You played different sports in college; did you notice any common trends?
Yes, it doesn’t matter what the sport is or what the goal is, you must put in the work. You can have a great season in basketball, but if you don’t put in the work, it’s not going to happen again. It doesn’t matter what your goal is; you have to give 100% and dream big to achieve success. I’m a big believer in you should always be doing extra stuff; always going the extra mile.
Were you the kid doing extra homework assignments?
No, I had to learn how to do things right over time. I watched my heroes and what they did, and they always worked hard, so I had to get to work hard too. To be great, you must do what the greats do.
Who inspired you?
I grew up a Ravens fan, so watching Ray Lewis, and those guys; Carmelo, Spiller. Seeing those guys progressing in their career taught me what I should be doing in mine.
Do you get starstruck when you got to meet your idols?
Absolutely. It’s a funny feeling to wait your whole life to tell someone how they’ve influenced you but it was a cool moment. I got to say to some of the people I grew up watching what they meant to me.
How do you get prepared for the spotlight?
I wake up and take a shower. I like to use Gillette Clinical Clear Gel deodorant. It helps me stay fresh so that I can focus on my day. It’s been an honor being able to team up with Gillette, who are giving away a trip to the Superbowl. You can find out more on their Twitter @Gillette.
What is your Male Standard?
I remind myself to get tough; you’re not going to want to work out every day, but you are an athlete every day, so you have to toughen up and get on with it. You should put in the work, especially on those days when you don’t want to, or you are sick. You should make every day count.
Thank you, Todd, for taking the time out to chat with Male Standard; good luck in the coming seasons and all you do, we know you’ll be a success, and guys, don’t forget you can check out Gillette online and on social media for exclusive giveaways @Gillette.