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.
“He had a great off-season,” Witten said. “There were many days where I was really sore, and we’d come in and say, ‘Are you sore?’ And he’d tell me, ‘Nah, not really. What about you?’ ‘Nah, I feel all right.’
“He’s everything you want in a teammate from that standpoint. It was good to work out with him that way, because I kept telling him, ‘November and December this will pay off for us, the work that we put in.’ You can see it in the way he’s playing.”
Murray, 26, didn’t have a choice but to work out with Witten once he was asked.
“Witten is the big dog, and I can’t tell him no,” Murray said. “It was understood hey lets get some work in, and we did it.”