The NFL has suffered another tragedy and the latest victim is former Tennessee Titans wide receiver O.J. Murdock, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound this morning in Tampa police said. According to police spokeswoman Andrea Davis, officers said they found the 25-year-old Murdock inside his car Monday morning with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His car was parked in front of Middleton High School, where Murdock attended school. Murdock was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died.
While the rest of the team reported to training camp this weekend, Murdock did not report due to what the team said was a personal issue. In a statement released Monday by the Titans, they said, “We are shocked and saddened to hear of O.J. Murdock’s death this morning. In his brief time here, a number of our players, coaches and staff had grown close to O.J., and this is a difficult time for them. He spent the last year battling back from an Achilles injury as he prepared for this year’s training camp. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy.”
He did not have the opportunity to play for the Titans in that he signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent on July 28, 2011. In the 2011 season, Murdock spent the entire season on injured reserve when he suffered a right Achilles’ injury early in his rookie training camp.
Hadley Engelhard, Murdock’s agent, described the receiver as a “hard worker, a great kid.” Engelhard continued saying that, “When I spoke to him a week-and-a-half ago he was training his tail off and excited about his opportunities this year. This is obviously sad and right now our thoughts and prayers are with his family. It was tough on him last year, just like anyone on IR. But he had been working hard and was excited and eager about a new opportunity and being a part of the Titans.”
The Tampa Tribune named Murdock their Male Athlete of the Year in 2005 after he won two state track championships and catching 57 passes for 927 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior at Middleton. He was rated the 10th best receiver in the country.
Though successful in 2005, he had a devastating setback the next year as he was charged with shoplifting $424.50 worth of clothing from a Tampa’s Macy’s. He was playing for South Carolina University at the time and was suspended from the team indefinitely in October of that year. The incident was expunged from his record after serving a year of probation but the damage had been done. He went to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi to play but suffered a broken collarbone. Marshall University offered him a scholarship but he had failed to earn his two-year degree and was ineligible.
Murdock spoke with The Tampa Tribune last year saying that, “I almost didn’t want to show my face around town,” Murdock told The Tampa Tribune last year. I easily could’ve given up right there, just thrown it all in the trash, gotten some job, given up for good. I finally focused on what I wanted to do not only in football, but in life.”
OJ Murdock NFL Titans WR Shoots Himself
Tampa police say Tennessee Titans player O. J. Murdock died after he was found in his car in front of Middleton High School Monday morning.
Tennessee Titans react to O.J. Murdock’s death
Tennessee Titans players react after Monday’s practice to the death of teammate O.J. Murdock in Tampa, Florida.