IRVING, Texas – DeMarco Murray was the workhorse for a Dallas Cowboys team that exceeded any and all expectations this year, however a harsh reality set in that No. 29 may have played his last game with the star on the side of his helmet.
Murray is an unrestricted free agent come March and there's a good chance he could test the open market.
But less than 24 hours after the Cowboys' 26-21 loss to the Packers, Murray wasn't exactly ready to look ahead.
"I'm not worried about my future," Murray said as he was cleaning out his locker Monday afternoon. "I just lost a big game. The biggest game of my life and just not worried about it right now, just going to relax with my family and get away from it for a little bit."
Murray had a career year as he won the NFL's rushing title with 1,845 yards in the regular season and another 198 in two playoff games. The soon-to-be free agent acknowledges his success, but isn't quite past the defeat in Green Bay.
"Waking up and realizing that the season is over … it's a different Monday as previous weeks," he said. "It's a little hard. It's frustrating but you know it is what it is. A lot of guys had good individual years but I think at the end of the day you look at what we did as a team and it was good, it wasn't great, but a lot of guys will learn from it. We'll have this taste in our mouths for a long time and leading into off season workouts and hope for a different result."
While future success isn't guaranteed, does Murray want to be part of the process going forward?
"I'm not going to answer that," he said.
Despite playing a major role in the team's resurgence, re-signing Murray isn't what Stephen Jones and the rest of the Cowboys front office believes is most important a day removed from the season coming to an end.
"Our No. 1 priority here right now is to get our coaches signed and get our staff in place," Jones said. "We'll sit down with our coaching staff, our personnel staff and really start to look at the full body of work of each and every player on our team, how they affect our cap and what decisions we need to make so we can make the next step next year. We really like the foundation of this football team."
Murray will no doubt be one of the big storylines of NFL free agency this year, but as the Cowboys weigh the numerous pros and cons of re-signing Murray for his fifth season with the franchise, his importance to a 12-4 campaign that came up just short of a conference title appearance can't be slighted and that's what stings most.
"Very, very proud," Murray said. "This group of guys, great group of guys, I love the coaches and you know we've come a long way, we worked hard you know, we just came up a little short and we gotta go back to the drawing board and work harder and make sure these things don't come up."
Only question now is will he be a penciled in on that drawing board? Time will tell.