Sony Michel was perhaps the only person in the NFL who was shocked to learn that he had been traded to the New England Patriots.
The running back still seems happy to have landed with the Los Angeles Rams.
After Michel adjusted to watch his first practice with the Rams from the sideline at their training complex on Thursday, the Super Bowl star claimed he was blinded by the deal sending him away from the New England for a conditional selection of low round draft picks.
“I was surprised,” said Michel. “I guess most people, when traded, are a little surprised.”
Just about everyone in the league knew that the 2019 Patriots vs Rams Super Bowl hero was very likely to be moved after the team declined his fifth-year option earlier this year, making him a free agent in 2022.
New England have a glut of talented running backs, and while Michel was excellent when in good health, his injury issues and the uncertainty of his contract made him an obvious candidate for a move to a competitor in need of a quick fix in the backfield.
An obvious candidate for everyone except the candidate himself, that is: Michel insisted that he had not had any conversations with his agent or other representatives about the likelihood that ‘he’s playing elsewhere this season.
Michel intends to get over the shock soon after joining a winning team with Super Bowl aspirations and a deemed strong team culture.
“My goal is to dive in and learn as much as possible and then stay on that point,” said Michel. “Not a lot of time to waste. I just have to get up, get ready to go and adjust, acclimatize.”
Aries people need exactly what Michael can provide when he is healthy. They lost starter Cam Akers and substitute Raymond Calais for the season to injuries, and new starter Darrell Henderson’s questionable injury history prompted the Rams to make the latest in their long line of daring moves for hungry veterans. of the Super Bowl – most recently Matthew Stafford, the quarterback who will hand the ball to Michel.
Coach Sean McVay has said he hopes Michel will be “a major contributor” starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
“It was the opportunity to acquire a very good player who was very successful,” said McVay. “He provides a physical presence in our room, and we feel really good about the running back situation, but some of the volatility with Darrell went through that, (we) wanted to make sure you have someone to ‘another who plays in big games, who brings a physical presence in this room.… Darrell is always going to have a really big role. It won’t really change the outlook for him, and then we’ll see how quickly we can get Sony to. level.”
Michel is already close to Rams running back coach Thomas Brown, who held the same position at Georgia in 2015 when Michel was with the Bulldogs. Brown has primary responsibility for preparing Michel for the opening night.
“The anticipation is that he’s coming here to participate and be a big factor,” McVay said. “The size of a factor is yet to be determined.”
McVay, the Rams and the entire Los Angeles area already know what Michel can do when he’s healthy: maybe the two biggest games of his footballing career have Southern California connections.
Michel ran for 181 yards and scored four touchdowns, including the winner of the double-overtime game, for Georgia at the 2018 Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Just over 13 months later, he ran for 94 yards and scored the lone rookie touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl victory over Los Angeles.
“It was another competitive game,” said Michel. “There were some very good games on this side of the ball. We had some very good players, and luckily we came out on top, but now I’m on the other side. Let’s see if we can get something.
His new teammates don’t have fond memories of Michel’s glow in Atlanta.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald said with a smile when asked about Michel’s Super Bowl performance.
NOTES: McVay said DT A’Shawn Robinson will be out “for the next few weeks” after what the coach called a “minor procedure” on his knee. Robinson is expected to play a major role this season following the departure of longtime incumbent Michael Brockers, but Los Angeles is pretty far on the defensive line. … LB Obo Okoronkwo has problems with the dart in his shoulder that kept him from training on Thursday. McVay acknowledged this could be a cause for long-term concern, but the Rams are waiting to see how quickly the injury subsides.