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Murray attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he played football, basketball, and ran track for the Gaels athletic teams. In football, he was an All-Conference pick three consecutive years. During his time at Gorman, his team was three-time Conference Champions. As a senior in 2005, he rushed for 1,947 yards and 27 touchdowns and also caught 22 passes for 624 yards and seven more touchdowns, earning him All-State honors and the 2005 Sunset Region Offensive Player of the Year award. In addition, he played basketball at Gorman, averaging 6.9 points per game and his high school basketball team went on to win a 2005 state title. He was considered a top-30 basketball recruit in the state as well. In track & field, Murray ran the 100-meter dash and was a member of the 4x100-meter relay squad.
Murray attended and played college football for the Oklahoma Sooners from 2006-2010.
Murray redshirted the 2006 NCAA football season.
In the 2007 season, Murray shared the backfield with Allen Patrick and Chris Brown. In his first game for the Oklahoma Sooners on September 1, 2007 against the North Texas Mean Green, Murray rushed for 87 yards and five touchdowns in the 79-10 victory. He became the first player in school history to score four touchdowns in a half in his debut. On September 15, 2007, in the 54-3 victory over Utah State, Murray set a Sooner record when he had a touchdown run of 92 yards, which is the third longest in Oklahoma football history. In the game against Tulsa, he added two more rushing touchdowns and a kick return touchdown in the 62-21 victory. In the annual rivalry game against #19 Texas, he finished with 128 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 28-21 victory. On November 10, against Baylor, he had 95 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and a kick return touchdown in the 52-21 victory. Overall, he finished with 127 carries for 764 rushing yards and tied Adrian Peterson's freshman touchdown record with 15. He logged a 4.40 (team best) 40 time and a 36.5-inch vertical jump during the 2007 winter testing.
In the 2008 season, Murray continued to share the backfield with Chris Brown while newcomer Mossis Madu got some carries as well. Murray started off the 2008 season with 124 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 57-2 victory over the Chattanooga Mocs. On September 12, against Washington, he had 100 rushing yards in the 55-14 victory. On October 4, against Baylor, he had 96 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 49-17 victory. On October 18, against #16 Kansas, he had 83 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 45-31 victory . In the next game against Kansas State, he had 104 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 63 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in the 58-35 victory. In the next game, against Nebraska, he added two more rushing touchdowns and one more receiving touchdown to his season total in the 62-28 victory. In the 66-28 victory over Texas A&M, he had 123 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. On November 22, he had 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a 65-21 victory over #2 Texas Tech. In the annual rivalry game against #11 Oklahoma State, he had 73 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to go along with seven kick returns for 196 net yards in the 61-41 victory. Overall, he finished the 2008 season with 1,002 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 31 receptions, 395 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns.
In the 2009 season, the backfield was largely dominated by the duo of Murray and Chris Brown. In the second game of the Sooners' 2009 season, Murray had 101 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 64-0 victory over Idaho State. On October 10, against Baylor, he had 107 rushing yards on 24 carries in the 33-7 victory. In the next game, against #3 Texas, he had eight receptions for 116 yards in the 16-13 loss. In the following game, he had 62 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 28 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown in the 42-30 victory over Kansas State. On November 14, against Texas A&M, he had a stellar performance with 80 rushing yards, five receptions, 140 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in the 65-10 victory. On November 28, against #11 Oklahoma State, he had 72 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 27-0 victory. In the 2009 Sun Bowl against #19 Stanford, he had 20 carries for 27 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 31-27 victory. Overall, in the 2009 season, he finished with 705 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions, 522 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns.
Murray dominated the Sooners' backfield in his final year with the program. Murray started the season off with a strong performance of 208 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against Utah State in the 31-24 victory. In the next game against #17 Florida State, he had 51 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 47-17 victory. In the following game against Air Force, he recorded 110 rushing yards and his third consecutive game with two rushing touchdowns in the 27-24 victory. In addition, he had five receptions for 38 yards and a receiving touchdown. After posting 67 rushing yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati in the 31-29 loss, he had 115 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 28-20 victory over #21 Texas. On October 16, 2010, with 112 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against Iowa State in the 52-0 victory, Murray passed running back Steve Owens as the all-time touchdown leader at the University of Oklahoma with 58 touchdowns. On November 20, against Baylor, he had 62 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, six receptions, 120 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown in the 53-24 victory. In his final collegiate game, he had 93 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown against #25 Connecticut in the 48-20 victory in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. He finished his last season with the Sooners with 1,214 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 71 receptions, 594 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns. He ended his college career with 65 touchdowns, becoming only the fifth player in Big 12 conference history to score at least 60 career touchdowns.
Murray had 3,685 career rushing yards (4.86 average) with 50 touchdowns, 157 career catches with 13 touchdowns, and 1,462 kickoff return yards with two touchdowns.
Murray was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree during his career and graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in communications and a double minor in business and African American studies.
Murray was selected in the third round with the 71st overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Murray was the sixth running back chosen in the 2011 draft. Murray signed a four-year contract with the Cowboys worth $2.97 million including a signing bonus worth $622,000 on July 29, 2011.
2011 season: Rookie year
Murray started his rookie year as the third string running back behind starter Felix Jones and second string running back Tashard Choice. From Week 1 to Week 4, Murray had 14 carries for 39 rushing yards (2.78 average) and added three receptions for 16 receiving yards. On October 16, the Cowboys traveled to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. Felix Jones went down with a high-ankle sprain, which increased the amount of opportunities for Murray. Murray finished the day with 11 carries for 34 yards and added one reception for seven yards in the 20-16 loss.
With the Cowboys owning a record of 2-3, the Cowboys faced the St. Louis Rams in Week 7. Felix Jones was declared out for the game due to the high ankle sprain injury sustained the week before. The team declared Tashard Choice as the starter for the game and Murray as the second string running back. Murray had 25 carries for 253 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown, breaking Emmitt Smith's single-game rushing record for a Cowboys running back of 237 yards set at Philadelphia against the Eagles on October 31, 1993. The record total included a first-quarter 91-yard touchdown run that was the longest rush of the 2011 season and was second longest in Cowboys history, after a NFL-record 99-yard run by Tony Dorsett in January 1983. Among the other records he set during this game were a rookie rushing record for a game in franchise history, previously held by Dorsett with 206 yards in 1977. His 10.1 yards-per-carry is the highest rushing average with 20-or-more attempts for a game in club history, previously held by Dorsett with 8.96 in 1977, the tenth most rushing yards in a game in league history, the second-most rushing yards in a game by a rookie in league history, second-longest touchdown run on a player's first career rushing touchdown in league history, and the most rushing yards by a running back in one game ever allowed by the Rams in franchise history. Murray earned the Rookie of the Week award and FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for his game against the Rams. After the Rams game, Tashard Choice was released leaving the team with only two healthy running backs, rookie Phillip Tanner and Murray, with Felix Jones still sidelined with an injury. Murray's historic day ended up being the most rushing yards by a single player in any game in the 2011 season.
Murray followed his record-breaking game by getting his first NFL start against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8. In Week 8 and Week 9, Murray totaled 30 carries for 213 rushing yards for a 7.1 average and five receptions for 45 receiving yards in a 34-7 loss to the Eagles and a 23-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. With his second game with at least 100 rushing yards of the season, Murray became the first Cowboy since Julius Jones in 2004 to post multiple games with at least 100 rushing yards as a rookie. With 466 rushing yards over the last three games, Murray tied Eric Dickerson for the fifth-highest total all-time by an NFL rookie during a three-game span. The record is 577 set by Mike Anderson of the Denver Broncos in 2000. The 466 rushing yards in the three game span is the most ever by any Cowboys player, surpassing 446 yards by Emmitt Smith during his MVP season of 1993.
From Week 10 to Week 13, Murray had a 79 carries for 333 rushing yards for a 4.21 average and added 16 receptions for 109 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown as the Cowboys went 3-1 during this stretch. In Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, Murray fumbled the ball for the first time in his NFL career, although the fumble was recovered by Murray himself. In Week 14 against the New York Giants, Murray carried the ball five times for 25 yards and added a reception for six yards before suffering a fractured right ankle and high ankle sprain that ended his rookie season. Murray was named NFL Rookie of the Month for the month of November.
At the end of the 2011 season, Murray led all NFL rookie players (with 40 or more carries) in average per carry (5.5 per carry), yards per game (69.0 yards) and rushing yards (897 yards) on 164 carries (second most among rookie players, Daniel Thomas had 165 carries). Murray tied for third among rookie players for rushing touchdowns with two; Carolina Panthers' quarterback and 2011 Rookie of the Year Cam Newton led all rookie players with 14 rushing touchdowns. Murray also was 14th in receptions among all rookie players and second among rookie running backs with 26 receptions. He finished fourth in receiving yards among rookie running backs with 183. Among all NFL running backs, Murray with seven starts in 12 games, tied for the second highest average per carry for a running back with 80 or more carries trailing only Darren Sproles' 6.9 yards per carry on 63 attempts. Murray's 897 rushing yards ranked 22nd among all NFL running backs and ninth in the NFC. The Cowboys went 5-0 for the season when Murray received 20+ touches in the game and 2-5 when he did not. In the five games where Murray got 20 or more touches, starting quarterback Tony Romo averaged a passer rating of 112.10, 246.6 yards per game, along with 12 combined touchdown passes with 2 interceptions and a 66.99% pass completion rate.
Murray started the 2012 season off strong with 20 carries for 131 rushing yards in a 24-17 victory over the New York Giants. Over the next three games, he had 41 carries for 106 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown to go along with 14 receptions for 105 receiving yards. During Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens, Murray rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries before suffering a sprained foot. He missed six games as a result of the injury. In Week 13, after returning from his injury, Murray rushed for 83 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on 23 carries in the 38-33 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Murray recorded his third touchdown of the year while rushing for 53 yards on 21 attempts in the 20-19 victory. This marked the eighth straight game where the Cowboys have won with Murray rushing the ball 20 or more times as the starting running back.
Despite missing six games, Murray finished the season with 161 carries for 663 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He had 251 receiving yards on 35 receptions.
Murray started off the 2013 season with 20 carries for 86 rushing yards in a 36-31 victory the New York Giants in the season opener and 12 carries for 25 rushing yards in a 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. In Week 3, against the St. Louis Rams, he recorded a season-high 175 rushing yards on 26 carries and 28 receiving yards on three receptions in the 31-7 victory. This marked the second time in as many games that he ran for over 175 yards against the Rams.
Returning from injury in Week 9, Murray was limited with four carries for 31 rushing yards as the Dallas coaching staff abandoned the running game with 51 passing plays to 10 rushing plays in the 27-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Although he did not have many opportunities in this game, Murray would improve as 61% of his rushing yards came from the second half of the season. In Week 13 against the Oakland Raiders, he had a career-high three rushing touchdowns in the 31-24 victory. In Week 16, against the Washington Redskins, he scored a ten-yard receiving touchdown from Tony Romo late in the fourth quarter to help give the Cowboys the game-winning points in the 24-23 victory.
Murray finished the 2013 season ranked 11th in total yards from scrimmage with 1,471 while missing two games due to injury. He had 217 carries for 1,121 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, all career highs and ranking tied for 17th, tenth. and tied for sixth respectively among running backs. His 5.2 yards per attempt was the most in the league among players with 150 or more attempts. He also recorded 53 catches for 350 yards and one touchdown, ranking 11th, 14th, and tied for 16th among backs.
In the 2014 season, Murray and an improved offensive line helped the team find a new identity. In the first eight games, Murray broke Jim Brown's 1958 NFL rushing record for most consecutive 100-yard games to start a season. Given his previous injury history, the team considered limiting some of his workloads, but he was such an integral part of the offense success, that the Cowboys could not cut back on his playing time.
In Week 1, Murray had 22 carries for 118 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 28-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He followed that up 29 carries for 167 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 26-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans in the next game. In the next game, against the St. Louis Rams, he rushed for 100 yards and a rushing touchdown on 24 carries in the 34-31 victory. In Week 4, a 38-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints, he rushed 24 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns for his fourth straight game finding the endzone. In the next game, against the Houston Texans, he had a season-high 31 carries for 136 rushing yards in the 20-17 victory. In the following game, a 30-23 victory over the defending Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks, he ran for 115 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on 28 carries in the 30-23 victory. In the next game, against the NFC East divisional rival New York Giants, he rushed for 128 yards and a rushing touchdown on 28 carries in the 31-21 victory. In the next game, the Cowboys' win streak ended as the Washington Redskins defeated them 20-17. In the loss, Murray had 19 carries for 141 rushing yards and four receptions for 80 receiving yards. In the following game, a 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, he had 19 carries for 79 rushing yards was held to under 100 rushing yards for the first time in the 2014 season. In the next three games, he bounced back with 100 rushing yards in the 31-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, 121 rushing yards in the 31-28 victory over the New York Giants, and 73 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. On December 4, in a 41-28 victory over the Chicago Bears, he had a season-high 32 carries for 179 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 41-28 victory. In Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he suffered a broken left hand that required surgery the following day. Heavily bandaged, he did not miss any time and played the following week against the Indianapolis Colts and had 22 carries for 58 rushing yards in the 42-7 victory. In Week 17, with his hand still bandaged, he rushed 20 times for 100 yards in the 44-17 over the Redskins to pass Emmitt Smith's Cowboys franchise single-season rushing record. Overall, he finished the 2014 season with 392 carries for 1,845 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns to go along with 57 receptions for 416 receiving yards. The Cowboys finished with a 12-4 record and won the NFC East.
In the Wild Card Round against the Detroit Lions, he had 19 carries for 75 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to go along with three receptions for 22 receiving yards in the 24-20 victory. In the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers, he had 25 carries for 123 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 26-21 controversial loss. Murray earned the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year award at the end of the season.
Murray set the franchise single season rushing record with 12 games rushing for at least 100 yards and passed Walt Garrison for seventh on the Cowboys all-time rushing yards list. He finished the season as the league's top rusher. He was named as a First Team All-Pro and to his second Pro Bowl, while having his second straight 1,000 yard season. He was ranked fourth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015 list.
Following this setback, the team reached an agreement with Ryan Mathews for a three-year deal. However, the Eagles quickly turned their attention into signing Murray, who was still available in free agency. On March 12, he agreed to a five-year, $42 million contract, joining his former college teammate, quarterbackSam Bradford.
In his first game with the Eagles, Murray only had eight carries for nine rushing yards. However, he scored two touchdowns, an eight-yard run and a five-yard reception in the 26-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The team received criticism because of his small usage. In Week 2 against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, he was held up again, rushing for only two yards on 13 carries and catching five passes for 53 yards in a 20-10 loss. Murray's Week 2 performance marked the fewest rushing yards through the first two games for a defending rushing champion since Doug Russell of the Chicago Cardinals in 1936. Murray missed Week 3 against the New York Jets due to a hamstring injury, while Mathews ran for 108 yards and Darren Sproles scored two touchdowns. Despite Mathews' success, Murray was named the starter for a Week 4 divisional matchup with the Washington Redskins. He had a 30-yard run in the first quarter, but finished the game with eight carries for 36 yards in the 23-20 loss. On October 19, in a 27-7 win over the New York Giants, Murray rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, which turned out to be his only 100-yard game of the season.
As the weeks progressed, Murray grew increasingly frustrated, with the offensive line not generating the running lanes needed, being required to frequently run laterally instead of downhill and not being seen as a good fit in the team's offensive system, which always ran in the shotgun.
In the Week 13 game against the New England Patriots, he was demoted because the team decided the smaller, quicker Darren Sproles would be more effective. Murray registered eight carries for 24 rushing yards in the game, while Sproles recorded 66 rushing yards on 15 carries, and 34 receiving yards on four catches. Murray reportedly had a conversation with owner Jeffrey Lurie over his role in the offense during the flight back to Philadelphia. Murray struggled to get touches after the return of Ryan Mathews, who started the remaining four games. Murray finished third on the team in rushing in the next two games, behind Sproles and Mathews, posting only eight snaps with two rushing attempts in the 40-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals for three rushing yards. He led the team in carries and rushes in a Week 16 matchup against the Redskins with five carries for 27 yards and a rushing touchdown. He fumbled a pitch that was returned by DeAngelo Hall for a touchdown just when the Eagles were within six points.
Going into the final game of the season, head coach Chip Kelly was fired and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur became the interim head coach. Murray rushed for a 54-yard touchdown on his first carry and finished the game with a 5.8 yards per carry average, his highest of the year. Murray finished the year with 193 carries for 702 rushing yards, and had only two games with over 20 carries, his lowest output since 2012.
2016 season: Resurgent season
On March 9, 2016, Murray was traded to the Tennessee Titans along with the Eagles' 2016fourth round draft pick, in exchange for the Titans' 2016 fourth round draft pick. In the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, Murray had 42 rushing yards, 35 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in the 25-16 loss. During Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, he had a 67-yard rush as part of a 89-yard performance the Titans won 16-15. In a Week 3 17-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Murray had 16 carries for 114 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. In the following game against the Houston Texans, Murray ran 25 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns. In the next game against the Miami Dolphins, he had 121 rushing yards con 27 carries in the 30-17 victory. Following the Dolphins game, Murray had six straight games with a touchdown and went over 100 rushing yards in three of them. Murray posted 1,287 rushing yards on 293 carries in his first year with the Titans. His 12 total touchdowns, of which nine were rushing and three were receiving, ranked sixth among NFL running backs in 2016. Additionally, on November 13, 2016, against the Green Bay Packers, he threw for his first professional touchdown on a ten-yard halfback pass to Delanie Walker. The Titans finished with a 9-7 record from a league-worse 3-13 record the season before, with Murray finishing third in the league in rushing yards and leading the AFC. He was named to his third career Pro Bowl on December 20, 2016 as a result of his successful season with the Titans. He was ranked 33rd by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
Murray split carries with Heisman Trophy-winning second-year running back Derrick Henry and run-oriented quarterback Marcus Mariota, reaching 15 rush attempts just once through Week 10. Despite the limited touches, he had 14 carries for 115 rushing yards, including a 75-yard rushing touchdown, in a Week 3 33-27 victory against the Seattle Seahawks, He had two rushing touchdowns along with the game-winning seven-yard receiving touchdown in a Week 10 24-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He made his final appearance of the regular season in Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams. He had 15 carries for 48 yards and a rushing touchdown and three receptions for 11 receiving yards in the 27-23 defeat. He missed the final game of the regular season against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a knee injury. His injury also kept him out of the playoffs, missing the Titans' Wildcard victory over the Chiefs and Divisional lost against the Patriots. Overall, he finished the 2017 season with a career-low 659 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 39 receptions, 266 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.
On March 8, 2018, Murray was released by the Titans.
On July 13, 2018, Murray announced his retirement from the NFL.
On June 20, 2013, actress Heidi Mueller gave birth to Murray's first child, a daughter, Savanna June. The couple announced their engagement on January 19, 2015. Murray and Heidi also have a son, Parker Ray. Murray started the DeMarco Murray Foundation with the mission to provide families with seriously and chronically ill kids with daily encouragement and life-changing experiences.