Murphy's return a breath of fresh air

PackerReport.com correspondent Dylan Tomlinson explains how former Packers wide receiver Terrence Murphy is taking a negative and turning it into a positive.

For almost this entire off-season the news coming out of 1265 Lombardi Avenue has been pretty bleak.

Despite having a ton of salary cap room, the Packers signed only one new free agent, backup cornerback Frank Walker.

The Randy Moss trade, which was rumored for three months, never materialized.

The selection of Justin Harrell, who the Packers took with the No. 16 pick in the draft, was widely booed by the crowd at the team's own draft party.

The face of the franchise, Brett Favre angrily voiced his displeasure with the direction of the team and reportedly asked to be traded, even though Favre later denied ever doing so.

That's why it was so great to see some good news last week, even if it was something that was widely overlooked.

The best thing that has happened this off-season is the return of Terrence Murphy.

Murphy, a receiver from Texas A&M, was the Packers second-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft.

Murphy's promising NFL career ended after just four games when he recovered Najeh Davenport's fumble on a kickoff against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 3, 2005. If Davenport didn't fumble the ball, Murphy could still be playing for the Packers. Instead, the injury forced him to retire. At 23, his playing career was over.

If Murphy had spent the last year wallowing in his own misfortune, nobody would have blamed him. While injuries are part of playing in the NFL, nothing seems quite as unfair as seeing a promising career end so prematurely. After being taken in the second round, Murphy undoubtedly envisioned a career where he would start for the Packers. Instead, his career ended with just five catches for 36 yards.

Unfair? You bet. How do you think Murphy felt seeing rookie Greg Jennings in the starting lineup last season knowing that if he had stayed healthy, that job probably would have been his?

But Murphy responded to his misfortune better than anyone could have imagined. He could have wallowed in self-pity and nobody would have blamed him. Most kids dream of playing in the NFL and to have that dream ripped away after just four games is enough to put someone in a personal tailspin.

But that's not Murphy. He immediately returned to school and started working toward his Master's degree. This spring he got a coaching job at Trinity Valley Community College. Last week, he returned to the NFL when he re-joined the Packers as a coaching intern. He will remain with the Packers for June's organized team activities and will be with them throughout training camp.

If Murphy is back in the NFL on a full-time basis in a few years, nobody should be surprised. He's just 24 and it's very easy to imagine that his job at Trinity Valley, coupled with his Packers internship could lead to an NFL assistant job in the near future.

With the direction Murphy is headed, he will be remembered for a lot more than being a player whose career was cut short by an unfortunate injury.

During his 24 years on this planet, Murphy's story has already had more than its share of unfortunate plot twists. But he appears more than determined to make sure there's a happy ending.


Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at dylan1226@gmail.com.


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