ORLANDO – For the third time in four years, DeMarco Murray finds him in the Pro Bowl, but this time he'll be against the Cowboys.
Three years ago he scored the game-winning touchdown in the 2014 Pro Bowl, and then the following year he donned the Blue Star for the final time as he represented the Cowboys a couple of months before he left the team in free agency.
For Murray, who rushed for 1,207 yards (third-most in the NFL) in his first season with the Titans, there's no hard feeling toward the Cowboys and the coaching staff, which he has visited with a couple of times this week in Orlando.
"No, none at all," Murray said. "I love those guys and what they've done for me and my career."
Murray had a down season with the Eagles in 2015, rushing for just 702 yards, but seems more than comfortable with the Titans, especially in an offensive scheme that is tailored to his style of running.
"I'm in a good spot. I got to run some plays I'm more comfortable with," Murray said. "Terminology-wise, I familiar with the scheme. It was a good year. Not many people expected us to have a chance to win that many games. It was awesome."
But while Murray and his Titans were busy trying to make a playoff push in the AFC, he admitted to watching a few of the Cowboys games this year. He couldn't help but be impressed with Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL's leading rusher with 1,631 yards.
While the Cowboys' offensive line gets plenty of national attention and has three starters in the Pro Bowl, Murray can certainly appreciate the talents of the running back.
"I caught a couple of games. I let those guys know, everyone talks about the line, but you have to have a back to do what he did," Murray said of Elliott. "He did it week after week and that was impressive. And he's a physical runner. It was impressive to see."[embeddedad0]
More than just running the ball, Murray said he was blown away by Elliott's all-around game, which is usually not developed in the first season.
"Just the catching ability. I didn't know how well he caught it in his college career, but to see him catch the ball the way he did was very impressive as a rookie," Murray said. "He's also a great pass protector. Everyone expects the backs to run the ball well, but when you catch it like he did and blocked, it was very impressive. It caught my eye."
Murray said he approached Elliott and rookie Dak Prescott, congratulating them on a great season.
"I talked to him the first day we were here, and I also talked to Dak," he said. "I just let them know they did a great job. Just keep rolling."
And he did happen to mention to Elliott that he fell short of Murray's franchise-record 1,845 yards he set in 2014?
"Well, I think he knows that," Murray said with a laugh. "But I'm sure he'll get it. He has plenty of time to get that. I'm sure he'll get it in the next year or so."