The 6’0″, 215-pound Murray has shown flashes in his first two years, rushing for 897 yards in 13 games in his rookie season and averaging 5.5 yards per carry that year. But Murray has battled injuries throughout his football career, going back to his college days at Oklahoma – and it has created doubt amongst Cowboys fans and NFL observers alike about whether he can stay healthy.
In dealing with the injuries though, the 25-year-old Murray has seemed to take them in stride, knowing that he has to continue to work hard and improve.
Speaking with ESPNDallas.com, Murray said that he needs to continue to play hard and free and make plays. And although he may make some mistakes along the way and get sloppy, that he’ll just continue to bring his lunch bucket and work his tail off.
For the Cowboys, it is refreshing to hear that mindset from their no. 1 workhorse. He does not seem affected by his past injuries, instead focusing on going forward and improving. Where a lot of guys who have dealt with injuries in their careers may begin to doubt themselves and have apprehensions about their approach and maybe alter their style of play, Murray remains keen on maintaining his physical style, a style that has made him rather unique in a current NFL where the majority of running backs play outside the tackles.
Murray runs with a physicality that, in most cases, makes him the hitter and defenders the hittee. Watch a highlight reel of him from his first two seasons and you’ll see him steamrolling New York Giants’ Mathias Kiwanuka and Chase Blackburn in order to gain extra yards. He’s a throwback runner, a guy who would rather put his head down and run through tacklers than get out of bounds shy of a first down.
Some doubters would say that shortens a career and that that style of play doesn’t hold up.
From Earl Campbell – a great bruiser of the late 1970s and early 1980s and hall of famer whose career was cut short by injuries resulting from his hard running style – to Adrian Peterson, who could be labelled as this generation’s poster boy for aggressive running, there have been many downhill, physical runners throughout the history of the league. Some, like those two, put together great careers. Others, like Marion Barber, a former Cowboy, only preserved their bodies for so long, retiring prematurely because of the toll their style took on the body.
Hopefully for the Cowboys, Murray can be more like the former examples.
He definitely has the right mindset to do it.