Todd Gurley found out early that you can’t please everybody in life. In fact, no matter how much you accomplish, some people will say it’s not good enough. You know haters—they’re gonna hate.
Need proof? Consider the story of the Los Angeles Rams running back when he was coming out of Tarboro High School in Tarboro, North Carolina. Gurley had been a star on a football team that won three state championships in four years. As a senior, he ran for more than 2,600 yards and 38 touchdowns. He was also a highly successful track athlete, competing for Team USA in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics. Yet despite all of those achievements, haters, well, they kept hating.
“My biggest thing in high school was ‘the never,’” Gurley says. “You hear that negativity. It kinda, you know, pisses you off. But at the end of the day, it just adds fuel to the fire.”
Gurley says his approach to handling haters is to know that they’re out there, but not give them or their criticisms any credit.
“You know, a lot of people will be like, ‘Thanks to all of my haters and all of the people who said I couldn’t do it,’” Gurley says. “But I would definitely never do it for them. Because I know what I’m capable of. I know I can do it.”
Just as they did when he was coming out of high school, critics threw the “never” word at Gurley after college. Specifically, they said he’d never be the same after suffering a torn ACL, which he did during his last season at the University of Georgia. But again, Gurley proved them wrong.
After working strenuously to rehab his injury, Gurley returned to the field in time for his rookie season. He then ran for more than 1,100 yards and reached the end zone 10 times. His performance landed him a spot on the NFL’s All-Rookie Team and in the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, where he scored another TD to cap off the year.
Gurley says those achievements are just the beginning, haters be damned.
“If I have a dream, then I’m going to go and accomplish it,” Gurley says. “But [haters] definitely add a bit of fuel to the fire.”
Follow the inspiring stories of other pro and high school athletes proving their doubters wrong at #SayICant.
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