In the span of roughly one year, Leonard Floyd went from the team that originally drafted him moving on from him, to the Rams taking the chance on him on a one-year deal, to turning in a career-best season, to parlaying that season into a lucrative four-year deal with the Rams.
Having worked this hard to get to this point, perhaps it's not surprising that even after re-signing with the Rams and earning that new, long-term contract, the outside linebacker feels he still has plenty left to accomplish.
"I definitely want to keep adding to my game," Floyd said during a video conference with reporters Thursday afternoon. "I want to make the All-Pro team and things like that. So more work to be done, more stuff to put in the lab, and I'm looking forward to doing that."
The baseline, on paper at least, is 10.5 sacks and 55 total tackles, both recorded last season and most in a single season in his five years in the NFL so far.
Floyd said he didn't want to build on that accomplish in any other uniform besides the Rams', citing his relationship with head coach Sean McVay, as well as the the chance to continue playing alongside defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
"I wanted to play with AD and Jalen Ramsey," Floyd said. "I wanted to run it back. We were the best defense in the league last year. I wanted to stick around with the same players and try to do it again."
That feeling was reciprocated by Rams teammates and coaches.
When asked last December if Floyd brought physicality to the edge, Donald said that "he plays the run solid, strong, and a lot of knock-backs, (tackles for loss). He's been out there flying around, making a lot of plays for us."
More recently, McVay and general manager Les Snead lauded Floyd's versatility, as a player capable of being more than an edge rusher for the defense. Snead specifically mentioned the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Floyd's athleticism as a plus for defending the types of quarterbacks they routinely face in their division each year.
Floyd said McVay called him the Friday before his new contract came in to let him know the Rams were going to negotiate and figure out a way to retain him because they knew he didn't want to play anywhere else, "and that's all she wrote."
"I'm really jacked up to have him back," McVay said during a March 19 video conference with Snead. "You watch his tape and I think he earned that respect across the league with what he did in Chicago, but especially this past year, people that you really value their opinions, I think there was consistency amongst those people that are really studying the film though, know what it looks like and the way they saw him. He was a major, major contributor to what we did defensively this past year."
While those personal contributions and goals are nice, Floyd wants them to contribute to a much larger, team-centric goal.
"My driving motivation is to get the ring, especially after last year," Floyd said. "I felt like we could have got the ring just on defense alone. I feel like if I come back in with that mindset, we can do some big things in L.A."
Floyd hasn't lost sight of his journey on the way to that ultimate goal, either. His mom, who according to a 2016 Chicago Sun-Times article had been working at a Husqvarna plant to support five children for 16 years and continues to be a big part of it, was by his side the entire contract process.
When asked if he would tell himself anything different at the time his Bears tenure ended, knowing what he knows now, Floyd said no because he doesn't like to live with regret. And everything worked out perfect, anyway.
"(My mom and I) were both anxious, were both just anxious trying to get it done so we'd know where we'd be at for the next few years," Floyd said. "Just being with the Rams, it made it that much sweeter. It is hard to explain, I'm still at a loss for words trying to explain it."
After resigning with the Los Angeles Rams, take a look back at Leonard's Floyd career year during the 2020 season.