PHOENIX Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett wanted running back DeMarco Murray to say with the team probably more than anybody.
He made daily calls and texts throughout the free agent process, including several during his visit with the Philadelphia Eagles before he eventually signed there.
“I talked to him all throughout the process,” Garrett said. “I talked to him all throughout the day he flew up to Philadelphia. I texted or talked to him when he was in Philadelphia. We literally communicated a number of different times all throughout the process.”
And because of that, Murray called Garrett to personally let him know he was signing with the rival Eagles.
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“He is an outstanding young man,” Garrett said. “He is an outstanding football player. He is going to have a heck of a career in the NFL for years to come. We wanted him to be a Dallas Cowboy. We tried to keep him here. That didn’t work out. We will play against him a couple of times of year. That will make it interesting. Again, the level of respect we have for him is really, really high.”
Garrett said Murray made a decision that was best for him and his family. Likewise, the Cowboys felt they had to do what was right for the organization financially.
Garrett said the team’s focus now is finding someone to replace Murray as the centerpiece of the Cowboys’ running game. But he was unequivocal in saying that the team will keep the same physical, run-oriented style of offense without Murray in 2015.
“Absolutely. It has to be replaced,” Garrett said of Murray’s production. “We talked about rebuilding our offensive line of the last four years allowed us to control the line of scrimmage and run the football. DeMarco was a big part of that running game. We do believe it was a team effort. But you can’t diminish or minimize his impact on that. His toughness was big for our football team. It allowed us to control the ball. It helped the other parts of our offense. It helped our defense. It was a good style of football for us to play. We will try to continue to do that.
“We know we have to have to have a top notch running back on our football team. We have a number of different candidates on our roster. There are certainly candidates in the draft.”
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760