Todd Gurley says Leonard Fournette should play for LSU in 2016

Todd Gurley's message for Leonard Fournette is simple: Don't consider sitting out next season in order to ensure you're healthy for the 2017 NFL draft.

"Come back and play, man," Gurley said in an interview with 99.9 The Fan's Big Game Day, according to CBSSports.com. "We don't care about all that, just waiting to go play for the NFL. We're football players. We've been playing this game for our whole life for free or with money. We don't care about that. We play for the love of the game."

Entering Sunday's games, Gurley has the fourth-most rushing yards in the NFL in his rookie season for the St. Louis Rams,just one year after tearing his ACL while playing for the University of Georgia.

Fournette spent most of this season as the Heisman Trophy front-runner before his 31-yard performance against Alabama, whose feature back,Derrick Henry, has now become the favorite. Fournette won't be eligible for the NFL draft until 2017, after his third season of college eligibility, which resulted in calls for him to sit out in 2016 to stay healthy. Both Fournette and LSU coach Les Miles have publicly rejected such ideas.

Gurley suffered his injury exactly one year ago, on Nov. 15, 2014, in a game against Auburn. The Rams made him their first-round pick in the 2015 draft despite the injury, selecting him No. 10 overall.

Gurley sat out the first two games of the season but has rushed for 664 yards and four touchdowns in his first six games. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

He also has become a mentor for Georgia running back Nick Chubb, who like Gurley, suffered a season-ending knee injury, tearing the posterior cruciate and other ligaments in his left knee in the Bulldogs' loss to Tennessee on Oct. 11. Gurley returned to Georgia the following week to be there for him, and he says he checks in with Chubb weekly.

"Like I approached the situation, you're not going to be the first person to tear your ACL or get injured, and you're not going to be the last," Gurley said recently. "We've got a lot of guys that can help him that have been through the same situation as him. He'll be fine."

ESPN's Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.

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