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Commentary: Good deed for Gurley resonates more than a game ever could

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Los Angeles Rams running back and former Tarboro High School standout Todd Gurley is shown during his local football camp in April. Last week, Gurley surprised local Walmart customers by paying their outstanding layaway balances.

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Monday, December 10, 2018

No matter the outcome on Sunday night for the Los Angeles Rams — a 15-6 loss to the Chicago Bears where the Rams’ offense looked its worst all season — the week was already won for running back Todd Gurley, at least locally.

On NBC’s marquee Sunday night game, he ran the ball 11 times for 28 yards and caught three passes for 30 yards while the Bears handed the Rams their second loss of the year. For the Tarboro native, it was a blip on the screen in an otherwise prolific season for he and his team.

Last Thursday night, on Dec. 6, 50 or so families showed up to the Walmart in Tarboro on Oaks River Drive expecting something along the lines of a customer appreciation night.

Instead, in an event organized by Gurley and his family through Pay Away the Layaway, a nonprofit organization, they were informed upon arrival that their current layaway balances had all been paid off by Gurley. His family was in attendance in his place, according to a Facebook post from one of the people whose debt Gurley paid.

“Got an unexpected blessing,” she wrote.

In all, Gurley paid about $6,000 in outstanding balances, according to a report by ABC11 WTVD in Raleigh.

In this calendar year, the Tarboro High graduate has held a free football camp at his old school, paid for new uniforms and helmets for his Vikings — who are a win away from another state title — came home in November in part to hand out meals on Thanksgiving, and, on Thursday, relieved the stress of a layaway bill for dozens of families in his home county.

Keon Caudle, a senior on the current Vikings’ team, summed up what Gurley’s presence as a great athlete and ambassador of the town meant to him earlier this season.

“Everyday we go in the weight room. We’re lifting. We’re thinking — he really came from our school. He’s really in the NFL right now,” Caudle told the Telegram. “He gives everybody hope.”

Edgecombe County, of course, will never forget about Todd Gurley, and it is continually obvious that Gurley will never forget about Edgecombe County.

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