DeMarco Murray stands only 31 carries from his career-high for a season.
It puts him on pace for 427 carries, which would break Larry Johnson’s NFL record.
He insists he has never felt better.
Maybe his off-season workout partner deserves some credit.
The running back started working out with tight end Jason Witten at Valley Ranch in March. For two months, the two encouraged and prodded each other as they ran and lifted in preparation for the 2014 season.
“It helped a lot, obviously with the stamina aspect just building a good armor for your body so you can take some hits and take the pounding of a long season,” Murray said Friday. “He’s done it for a long time, and he’s someone who has had a lot of success in this league, and he knows what to do to take care of your body in season and out of season, so it helped a lot, and I have to thank him, and we’re still working together.”
Witten, who is in his 12th season, has missed only one game in his career. As a rookie in 2003, he sat out a game after having surgery to repair a broken jaw.
Witten’s durability is a reason he has 902 career catches for 10,065 yards and 53 touchdowns.
“I think he appreciated the way we went about it, and I’ve always been a big believer in the off-season work that you do and not just the camaraderie that it does, that’s good too, but just for yourself, how you have to get yourself in shape to play at a high level,” Witten said.
“If you miss that time, it’s hard to catch up. It’s hard to make up, because once you get into the football stuff, that training becomes secondary. We had a good stretch there of six, seven, eight weeks, and we really pushed each other. I’d do it one day; he’d do it the next as to what we were going to run or what we were going to do. It was a lot of fun, and I think we’re both better because of it.”
Murray has never played all 16 games in a season. He missed 11 games in his first three seasons. Although running backs coach Gary Brown called Murray’s injuries “freak things,” Murray has never been in better shape.
“Witten is the big dog, and I can’t tell him no,” Murray said. “It was understood, hey, let’s get some work in, and we did it.”
Tony Romo was back at practice Friday after taking Thursday off, continuing his normal trend of taking one day off every week.
Safety Jakar Hamilton returned to practice after attending the funeral of a cousin, who was shot and killed in South Carolina.
Linebacker Bruce Carter practiced full for the first time since he strained his quadriceps against the Saints and will play Monday.
Tackle Doug Free (foot) and defensive end Jack Crawford did not practice and will not play against the Redskins.
Home game for a Super Bowl?
The Cowboys want another Super Bowl for North Texas, but Jerry Jones isn’t prepared to give up one of his team’s eight regular-season home games to get it.
NFL owners recently voted to require teams that hosts a Super Bowl to give up a regular-season home game to London sometime over a five-year period.
“That will put a difficult caveat to our bid,” Jones said on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM. “We probably will make a bid. They tell you what they want in a bid, but you can make a bid without what they want in a bid. So when you say, ‘They’re not going to give it to you.’
“The owners still get to vote. That’s pretty limiting, and our home games are so important to us at this time, I’m not for sure how we’ll handle a bid. We’ll make a bid for a Super Bowl in the future, but that’s a head scratcher if I would do it at a cost of a home game.”
Arlington hosted Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011, a first for North Texas. It stands as the most financially profitable Super Bowl in history, as Cowboys Stadium — now AT&T Stadium — drew 103,219.
The Cowboys play their first regular-season game overseas on Nov. 9, but Jacksonville is giving up the home game.
Park early Monday
Parking lots open at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The plazas open at 4:30 p.m. and stadium doors at 5:30 p.m. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.