Cleat Geeks

What does Murray’s Retirement Say About The Current NFL?

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DeMarco Murray is calling it a career after only seven seasons in the league. The former three team running back made his announcement during NFL Live on ESPN on Friday. While in the NFL he played for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans as a running back.

“I think it’s time for me to hang it up, as hard as it is,” Murray said. “It’s bittersweet, but I think for me, it’s the right timing for myself and my family moving forward.”

Murray was a three-time Pro Bowl selection who began his career with the Cowboys as a third-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2011. He led the NFL in rushing in 2014 with 1,845 yards on 392 carries, the most attempts of any player since 2000. While playing for Dallas in 2014 he won both the NFL rushing title and Offensive Player of the Year honors. He was a dominant force that season for the Cowboys, who went 12-4 to win the NFC East.

He was then signed to a five-year, $42 million contract with the Eagles in 2015, but managed just 702 rushing yards on 193 carries (3.6 yards per carry) in an acrimonious year with then-coach Chip Kelly. Murray was subsequently traded to the Titans the following off-season and enjoyed a career resurgence in his first season in Tennessee, rushing for 1,287 yards on 293 carries.

The Titans couldn’t wait to add Murray as a running threat to help protect quarterback Marcus Mariota in the 2016 season. Behind a revamped offensive line, Murray proved very durable, playing through a torn plantar plate in his right foot. Murray led the AFC and was third in the entire NFL with 1,287 yards rushing on 293 carries. It was the second-most carries of his career and his second-best rushing season.

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“I think you just wake up,” Murray said. “I’ve always heard the saying when you know, you know, and one day that day will come, and for me it was the last year or two. … I’ve been constantly thinking about this. Working out still, in great shape, feel great and it’s time.”

Murray, 30, lost his job to Derrick Henry last season and was due to make $6.25 million this season when the Titans let him go. He ran for 659 yards and six touchdowns last season. He dealt with a knee injury late in the year, and missed the Titans’ final regular-season game and two playoff contests.

“I just woke up a couple weeks ago and it started to burn and burn and trigger and it got deeper, so this morning I decided to call it a career.”

But last year was problematic and ended in injury. He was released by the Titans in March and did not sign with another team. And now, without a team or a job, Murray is leaving football.

“I’m very blessed to have had the coaching staff and the players and teammates that I’ve been fortunate to play with the last seven years of my career,” Murray said. “It’s been a long time thinking the last year or two physically, mentally, emotionally. I think it’s time for me to hang it out there. As hard as it is … the fans have been great. I had a lot of great games and a lot of great teammates. It’s bittersweet, but I think for me it’s the right timing for myself and my family moving forward.”

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What Does This Say About The Current NFL?

1)      The running back position or virtually any other position on the football field is hard on a person’s body. It was not like he was not, at least at times, a successful running back. He led the league one of the seven years he was in the NFL.

2)      The NFL is a young man’s game. Thirty teams could have signed Murray, and all of them choose not to. And they basically had four months to do so. I am sure Murray saw the writing on the wall and decided to call it a career.

3)      The offensive lines are more important in the current state of football than the running backs. As long as the lines can make a hole for the back, almost anyone can run through it.

4)      The league is shifting to a pass heavy offense. Even running backs must be able to catch the football. And they must also be able to block defensive players not only protecting the quarterback, but also giving that same quarterback a few extra seconds for a play to develop downfield.

5) These players want to be tough, want to contribute and want to win. But in 2016 in the first year with the Titans he fought through an injury to prove himself to his new team. Did that fight lead to the other injuries that now caused the Titans to release him? We may never know, but playing through injuries for the Titans may have cost him millions of dollars.

Do you think the retirement of DeMarco Murray says something else about the current NFL product? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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