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Emotional Todd Gurley caps long recovery with Offensive Rookie of the Year award

It was a long and arduous road back to a football field for Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.

But after Gurley was officially named the Associated Press' Offensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday night, he let out all of the pent-up emotion of a year spent rehabilitating from a torn left ACL.

"I think at this moment, all the emotions are pushing out," Gurley said at the annual NFL awards ceremony in San Francisco. "I think besides this award, the Pro Bowl was another accolade that just brought all of the emotions out of me. It's definitely a proud moment in my life so I'm gonna have my friends pick on me by crying but I'll be fine."

Gurley should be more than fine after taking home the highest honor for an offensive rookie. He adds the award to the same honor from the Pro Football Writers of America as well as his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

In his debut season, Gurley finished with 1,106 rushing yards, joining Eric Dickerson and Jerome Bettis as the only Rams rushers to reach 1,000 rushing yards in their rookie year. He was also first among all rookies in yards from scrimmage (1,294), second in total touchdowns (10) and first in 100-yard games (five).

Along the way, Gurley became the first rookie in NFL history to rush for 125 or more yards in four consecutive games. His 566 yards in his first four starts set an NFL record for the Super Bowl era, and he's one of three rookies since 1970 to rush for 700 or more yards in his first six starts.

All of that despite playing only 13 games. Gurley, 21, sat out the first two still working his way back from the injury he suffered in October 2014, then missed the season finale because of a turf-toe issue.

"Coming off the ACL a year ago, to be able to win this award, it definitely means a lot," Gurley said. "It's a gift from God. I can't say nothing else about it. Thank you to my teammates, coaches and everybody that believed in me and helped me get to this point."

Gurley became the first Ram since Sam Bradford in 2010 to win the offensive rookie of the year award, and his victory comes on the heels of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald claiming the defensive version last year. He's also the third running back in Rams history to win the offensive award, joining Hall of Famers Bettis (1993) and Dickerson (1983).

Pretty good company for a player most believe is just scratching the surface of his potential and only figures to be better when he's another year removed from that devastating knee injury in 2016.

"I couldn't even picture myself being in these shoes a year ago," Gurley said. "My biggest thing was to just try to get back and playing on the field and be healthy and to get this award is a blessing. I couldn't have imagined this in a million years but it definitely happened."