NFL Wire News

Cowboys prepare for Philly, old friend Murray


The Sports Xchange

IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett reminded the Cowboys to focus on themselves this week, and not make Week 2 about beating former Dallas running back DeMarco Murray.

“He was a great player, a great human being when he was here,” Garrett said. “That’s the business of the NFL.”

Murray signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and scored two touchdowns in his debut with the team Monday at Atlanta. The Eagles host the Cowboys on Sunday with Murray and a host a new faces playing vital roles in coach Chip Kelly’s offense.

“They have a couple of new guys in there running it, and there are a lot of challenges presented to our football team,” Garrett said.

Dallas faced a decision in March as to whether to fight to keep wide receiver Dez Bryant or Murray. There wasn’t enough in the coffers to secure both long-term, and Murray wasn’t amenable to an offer that stood as a hometown discount of sorts. The team’s initial offer was just $16 million over four years.

Garrett pleaded to keep Murray, publicly stating during negotiations that in the Cowboys’ offense, the “back matters,” an indirect response to public sentiment that any runner would have success playing behind a dominant offensive line. Garrett spent time with Murray leading up to his March move to Philadelphia, attending basketball games together. He said it wasn’t necessarily a one-on-one pitch.

“I don’t know that we were even talking about all that at that time,” Garrett said. “He’s a great young man. He’s a great person. He and I certainly have a relationship, we’ll continue to have a relationship. He plays for another team now and we’re focused on getting ready for this game on Sunday.”

Dallas lost Murray to the NFC rival in March and Bryant in Week 1. He broke his right foot in the third quarter of the season-opening win over the New York Giants and could miss 6-8 weeks following surgery on Tuesday.

Terrance Williams, the No. 2 receiver, and tight end Jason Witten are being asked to step up and the Cowboys must also ask for more out of Murray’s replacements, Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and third-down back Lance Dunbar.

Garrett said Wednesday he’s still confident the Cowboys have enough in their committee running back group to be productive. Dallas averaged 3.5 yards per carry last week. Murray ran for 4.7 yards per carry in 2014.

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