The Oakland Raiders let veteran running back Darren McFadden walk away in free agency last season, showing their faith in 26-year-old running back Latavius Murray.
Murray rewarded the team by starting all 16 games while averaging four yards a carry and scoring six touchdowns and rushing for 1,066 yards. In doing so, he became the first Raiders rusher to go over the 1,000-yard mark since McFadden did in 2010.
And now Murray is soaking up the sun - and experience - in Hawaii for his first Pro Bowl.
“First time in Hawaii, so just trying to enjoy that as well,” Murray said after Friday’s practice at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore. “Just to be out here and to have my family out here, spending it out here with these guys on the practice field… it’s real cool”.
The third-year running back finished just four yards behind New York Jets running back Chris Ivory for the AFC-leading rusher. Both were named Pro Bowl alternates in December, but both ended up making the roster due to injuries and Super Bowl appearances.
Knowing what it took to get in his first Pro Bowl, Murray is making sure to do some sightseeing in case things don’t go as planned and he doesn’t make it back as soon as he hopes.
“I think today I’m going to head over to Kauai and make a quick little trip… but we’re going to try and enjoy it while we’re here — who knows the next time I’ll be back, but hopefully it’s next year.”
Murray knows he can provide more for the Raiders despite his strong season as the starting running back.
“Just have to continue to work, continue to get better,” Murray said. “I know I left a lot out there on the field so I know there’s a lot more that I can do. I’m looking forward to it.”
Murray is the lone Raider on Team Irvin, with his teammates Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and Charles Woodson all on Team Rice. But he says that just gives him a little added motivation for Sunday’s game.
“I feel like an odd-man out, which means I feel like I’ve got to do my job and make sure that I can brag come the end of the game,” Murray said with a smile.
Even though his teammates are on the other team this week, Murray sees the progress for the Silver & Black and is excited about the Raiders future after having so many young guys appearing in their first Pro Bowl.
“It means everything. the fact that a group of young guys get to enjoy this together, and get to crack at it next year and build on something. I’m excited for the future.”