Entering year 10 of his professional football career, former UCF running backwards Latavio Murray has a message for the NFL.
“I’m definitely ready physically,” Murray, who didn’t sign this offseason, said when orlando sentinel.
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Murray has spent the summer working out at UCF with other current NFL players including Green Bay Packers wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a pair of former Knights in New Orleans Saints Tre’Quan Smith and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis.
Murray Appreciates UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn allowing him to train at his old school, where he played from 2008-12.
“Gus has made it known that he wants us back and it’s an open door policy,” Murray said. “For the former players to be able to have a place to train and exercise and be close to some of the players that are here now, it’s a great situation.”
The group of professional athletes have trained with Bert Whigham, who works closely with Davis and other NFL players.
Murray, who spent last season with the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year deal, said this offseason has been unlike any other. With NFL training camps around the league starting this week, it’s the longest time Murray has spent as a free agent.
“I’ve been trying to learn to appreciate the time I have at home with my family and to appreciate not having the demands of OTAs and minicamps,” he said. “I just make sure I’m ready when the time comes.”
Murray believes that moment could come soon.
“Once training camps start, there’s going to be a lot of movement going on,” he said. “The unfortunate part of the business is that there will be injuries.”
“So who knows how they end up shaking off the charts? We know the game.”
During his nine years in the league, Murray has developed into a durable running back. Aside from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined during his rookie season, he only missed six games in the next eight seasons.
He leads all running backs in the NFL with 107 games played since 2015, according to CBS Sports. No other running back has played more than 100 games in that span.
Murray said he has grown a lot mentally and physically since his college days in Orlando.
“I have always felt in my career that I could continue to be better and find ways to be better,” he said. “I have done it over the years. That’s what I’ve been able to do in the NFL: continue to improve my game in ways I haven’t done before.”
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Although staying in shape this summer, Murray has had to keep waiting as the NFL season approaches.
“It sure has been frustrating,” he said of remaining a free agent this late in July.
Murray, however, has yet to wave the white flag on his NFL career.
“When you’re not ready to go or you know you have some good football left to contribute to a team, that’s the hard part,” he said. “Know what you have and know what you can still give and can’t.
“But look, it’s part of the business.”
Coaching at UCF while surrounded by others in the NFL has helped Murray, who totaled 119 carries for 501 yards and a team-high 6 rushing touchdowns in 14 games with the Baltimore Ravens last year.
“A lot of people could find themselves in that situation and maybe give up, stop training and lose their mental drive,” he said. “Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of saves with people who are still in the league who are just rooting for it. [me] just to be ready.
“Right now, it’s just a waiting game.”
Email Jason Beede at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.