To call running back DeMarco Murray’s 2015 NFL season turbulent is like calling Dennis Rodman eccentric; it’s a gross understatement. After rushing for a career-high 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, a season that propelled Murray into the stratosphere of elite running backs, Murray pounced on his popularity and signed a five-year, $42 million contract as a free agent last summer with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Yet Murray’s brutish, up-the-middle running style never gelled with Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s option offense, and Murray was given just 193 carries in 2015—this after a 2014 campaign in which he carried the ball a whopping 392 times. Murray eventually lost his starting spot to Ryan Matthews, and it became apparent that his marriage with the Eagles would be a short one.
Now a member of the Tennessee Titans, Murray is looking to recapture the magic that vaulted him into that unforgettable 2014 season and reclaim his spot as one of the top running backs in the NFL.
We caught up with Murray for a quick chat about his off-season workouts, putting Philadelphia behind him and his love of Game Of Thrones.
STACK: Things didn’t quite go as planned in Philly last season. What was your takeaway from that situation?
DeMarco Murray: I just think you’ve got to be grateful no matter what, whenever you have a chance to step on the field, whether it’s one play or a thousand plays. I’ve always been one who’s taken football extremely serious, and last year was something that was new to me. It made me respect the game and evaluate a lot more than I have in the past.
You’re part of the Tennessee Titans now, and I know you’re itching to get back on your horse. What have you been working on this off-season?
Cardio is a huge thing [for me]. I want to make sure I can run all day and not get too tired. Footwork is a big thing and lower body strength is huge for me. I try and focus on those three things, along with some agility here and there. I definitely do some biking and [take] spin classes, an hour of that. I’ve done a couple MetCon classes that have a baby-CrossFit type of feel, with full body activity. Those are some things that I do to give my legs a break so I’m not just running and pounding them all day. I do some UFC and boxing and things of that nature as well.
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What are your initial thoughts on your new quarterback, Marcus Mariota?
I think his work ethic is second to none He’s very smart and works extremely hard, not only in the weight room but on the field as well. Mentally and physically, he’s leading by example. He’s not the most vocal guy, but guys respect his work ethic, more than a vocal guy who doesn’t do much. When he does speak, everyone listens.
You’ve been talking with younger athletes about proper hydration this summer, which begs the question: What’s the hottest game you ever played in?
One game in particular, it was a Miami [Dolphins] game my rookie year. It was extremely hot and humid there. I had a lot of Gatorade in my system, because I knew it was going to be hot even the night before. Once I got in the game, I was one of the only ones that wasn’t cramping up. That was huge for me.
Finally, I know you’re a big Game Of Thrones fan. Last week’s episode, “Battle of the Bastards,” was one of my all-time favorites. What say you?
Jon Snow was brilliant. [The episode] was definitely one that I think for this season stood out as the best. I’m excited for the finale.