Las Vegas native DeMarco Murray, the NFL rushing leader with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, is retiring from pro football.
Murray, 30, made the announcement on ESPN on Friday, four months after being released by the Tennessee Titans.
“I think you just wake up,” said Murray of realizing it was time to retire. “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.
“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.”
The 2014 Offensive Player of the Year lost his job to Derrick Henry last season and was due to make $6.25 million in 2018 when the Titans let him go. He ran for 659 yards and six touchdowns last season, dealt with a knee injury late in the year, and missed the Titans’ final regular-season game and two playoff contests.
The Titans acquired Murray in a March 2016 trade with the Eagles. Murray had spent one year with Philadelphia after playing four seasons with the Cowboys. Murray was playing for Dallas in 2014 when he won 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. Murray ran for a league-best 1,845 yards, then signed a five-year, $40 million deal as a free agent with Philadelphia in 2015.
With the Eagles, Murray started eight of 15 games played and ran 193 times for a team-best 702 yards. Once coach Chip Kelly was fired, Murray’s contract was one of those Philadelphia unloaded.
The Titans couldn’t wait to add Murray as a running threat to help protect quarterback Marcus Mariota. Behind a revamped offensive line, Murray proved durable, playing through a torn plantar plate in his right foot. Murray led the AFC and was third in the NFL with 1,287 yards rushing on 293 carries. It was second-most carries of his career and his second-best rushing season.
But last year was problematic and ended in injury. And now, without a team or a job, Murray is leaving football.
Murray, who played for Bishop Gorman High School and later at Oklahoma, said he was blessed with great coaches and teammates over his seven-year NFL career.
He played in 99 NFL games with 1,604 carries for 7,174 yards, a 4.5-yards average, and ran for 49 touchdowns. Three times he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
“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,” he said. “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.”