O.J. Murdock found dead

O.J. Murdock (a reserve receiver for the Tennessee Titans) was found in his car on Monday morning with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to a local hospital and died at 10:43 a.m. He was 25.
Murdock was found at around 8:30 a.m. outside of Middleton High School in Tampa Bay, the high school he attended.
The Titans signed Murdock as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but he didn’t see any game action in his rookie season due to an Achilles injury. He spent last season rehabbing with the team.
The Titans released this statement on their website:
“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.”
Murdock had not shown up for either of the first two days of Titans training camp, which opened on July 27. According to CBSSports.com – he’d been excused for those two days for “personal reasons.” Head coach Mike Munchak said he thought it was possible that Murdock would arrive at camp on Monday.

O.J. Murdock found dead
O.J. Murdock.

Hours after sending a gracious yet puzzling middle-of-the-night text message to a former college coach, police say Titans receiver O.J. Murdock died in an apparent suicide.
A Tampa police spokeswoman said officers found Murdock at about 8:30 a.m. inside his car with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The car was parked in front of Middleton High School, where Murdock made a name for himself as a dynamic receiver and state champion sprinter in track and field.
Al McCray, assistant head coach/receivers coach at Fort Hays State, said when he woke up at his Kansas home Monday he found a message on his cellphone from the player, thanking him for everything he had done for Murdock and his family. The athlete concluded the text with an apology that baffled McCray, who said he had known the 25-year-old since Murdock was in middle school.
“I spoke to him a week ago, and he was so excited about getting ready to go to training camp. He was real happy about being able to help his mother out” – McCray recalled. “You always like to hear kids who talk about that. It brings a smile to your face to hear a young man talk about :Hey, I’m glad I’m able to help my mother out.’ ”
McCray was an assistant coach at Middleton when Murdock was there and later helped the player resume his college career after he was kicked off the team at South Carolina, where he was part of Steve Spurrier’s first recruiting class.
“The hardest part about this is I got a text at 3:30 in the morning, where he said – ‘Coach, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family. It’s greatly appreciated’ ” – McCray said. “At the end, he goes – ‘I apologize.’ And I don’t know what he’s talking about. I woke up, and I’m thinking he’s apologizing because he texted me so early. I wish he had called instead.”

O.J. Murdock was still recovering from an injury that sidelined him all of last season, so the Tennessee Titans weren’t overly concerned when the receiver said he’d be a couple of days late reporting for training camp.
“I talked to him and just assumed it was a personal issue” – teammate Damian Williams said, recalling the last conversation he had with Murdock, who died Monday in an apparent suicide carried out in a car in front of his old high school in Tampa.
“It’s tough. He was always a happy guy who played around a lot and always had a smile on his face” – Williams added. “I definitely didn’t see it coming.”
Neither did one of Murdock’s former college coaches at Fort Hays State. Nor did Titans coach Mike Munchak or general manager Ruston Webster.
Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said officers found the athlete about 8:30 a.m. inside his car with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The vehicle was parked in front of Middleton High School, where Murdock made a name for himself as a dynamic football player and state champion sprinter in track and field.
Al McCray, assistant head coach/receivers at Fort Hays State, said he received a gracious yet puzzling text message from Murdock a few hours before police discovered the body.
McCray said the 25-year-old, who he had known since Murdock was in middle school, thanked him for everything he had done for the player and his family. The middle-of-the-night text concluded with an apology that confused the coach, who didn’t read the message until after he woke up at his home in Hays, Kan..
“I spoke to him a week ago, and he was so excited about getting ready to go (to training camp). He was real happy about being able to help his mother out” – McCray said. “You always like to hear kids who talk about that. It brings a smile to your face to hear a young man talk about `Hey, I’m glad I’m able to help my mother out.’ “

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