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Past NFL greats impressed by Cowboys’ Murray

DeMarco Murray shrugs when anyone mentions his history-making, 100-yard-game streak. The Dallas Cowboys running back could surpass Jim Brown on Sunday with a seventh consecutive 100-yard game to start the season.

Yet, the only record that matters to Murray is the team’s record.

“Yeah, I’m just focused on doing my part to give us a good chance to win this game,” Murray said. “It’s something I’m not really concerned about.”

The only one less impressed with Murray’s streak than Murray is Brown.

Brown topped the century mark 58 times in 118 career games, including six consecutive to start the 1958 season.

“It’s good for the young man,” said Brown, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971. “He’s been doing good and having good things happen, and he’s about to get a record. That’s good. There’s nothing wrong with that. … But in a team sport, it’s about each person on that team contributing what they’re supposed to contribute at a particular time. You win a team sport with a team, and it is about winning.”

The Cowboys have done that five times, with Murray leading the way each time.

The fourth-year veteran gained 118 yards against the San Francisco 49ers, 167 against the Tennessee Titans, 100 against the St. Louis Rams, 149 against the New Orleans Saints, 136 against the Houston Texans and 115 against the Seattle Seahawks. The season opener against San Francisco was the only game the Cowboys have lost.

“What he’s done is very difficult,” said former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, now an analyst for NFL Network. “I think the thing that makes it most difficult is it’s the beginning of the season. All the defenses are fresh. Everybody wants to stop the run starting out the season. Then, not to mention that at some point the opponent knows exactly what you’re going to do, so it gets even harder.

“Boy, what he has done, to start the season with six straight games of 100 yards, it’s almost mind-boggling. It really is.”

Murray, 26, has almost as many yards as he had as a rookie in 2011. He has more yards than he had in 2012. He is more than halfway to the career-best 1,121 yards last season.

Murray’s 785 rushing yards leads the league, with 27 NFL teams having fewer rushing yards this season. The Oakland Raiders have only 360 rushing yards as a team to rank 32nd.

“Rushing for a hundred yards is very difficult,” Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson said. “I think people take it for granted. The fan is sitting at home, the first thing he says is, ‘Oh, I could have gotten through that hole.’ I tell all of them, that game is so fast. You have a split second to make a decision. That’s what it comes down to.

“DeMarco is doing a great job running the football. He’s wearing the right [jersey] number, too. But you can’t emphasize enough what a great job he’s doing running the rock.”

Murray can attest to just how difficult a task it is to reach 100 yards. In his first three seasons, he surpassed the century mark only seven times in 37 games.

“It’s not easy,” said Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown, who had 4,300 rushing yards in eight NFL seasons. “The way he does it every week is amazing, because some weeks it’s the dirty yards. Some weeks it’s big runs. So he’s hit every facet of how he can get the 100 yards. It’s just exciting, and I’m proud to coach the guy.”

Murray will leave AT&T Stadium happy Sunday , whether he gets 100 yards or not, if the Cowboys beat the New York Giants. That mindset impresses Jim Brown more than any record.

“Congratulations to him,” Jim Brown said. “I know one thing: It takes great effort. It takes great concentration. It takes intelligence. It takes hard work. So those things allow you to accomplish things that he’s accomplished. That’s the one thing I know that’s constant. I am happy he has the kind of mind he has.”

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