Nobody could have predicted that a 32-year old Latavius Murray would end up being one of the Denver Broncos most reliable offensive weapons before the season. Yet, here we are.

Originally signed as an insurance policy, Murray has become the team’s leading rusher. With 567 total rushing yards so far, he’s currently on track to have his fourth-highest rushing total in his nine-season career.

This has been the narrative for almost the entirety of his time in the NFL. Constantly being signed as a back-up, only to find himself thriving in a starting role.

Impressing in College

Murray was born in Titusville, Florida. However, his family moved to Onodonga, New York, where he attended Onondaga Central High School. In high school, he was a three-sport athlete competing in football, basketball, and track.

In his senior year, he rushed for 2,194 yards and 28 TDs on 175 carries. Murray also had 78 tackles, three forced fumbles, with two interceptions on defense. He received All-league and All-Central New York selections in three straight seasons and was named the 2007 Gatorade Football Player of the Year in New York.

Coming out of high school, Murray was labeled a three-star recruit. He received scholarship offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, and Syracuse. He ultimately decided to attend the University of Central Florida.

Murray made his collegiate debut against South Carolina State and had 43 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he tore his ACL playing basketball in the offseason following his first year.

Murray redshirted the next season but returned to the field the following year. He was named Conference USA Championship MVP and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl MVP for his performance against Georgia.
As a junior, he was chosen as the team’s MVP and offensive player of the year.

In his senior season, Murray was an All-C-USA First Team selection and was named to Phil Steele’s All-C-USA First Team. He was named to the College Football Performance Awards All-Purpose Trophy Watch List and selected to the College Football Performance Awards Special Teams Watch List.

He finished his college career with 2,424 rushing yards, 37 rushing touchdowns, 50 receptions, 524 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns.

Entering the NFL Sphere

Murray wasn’t invited to the 2013 NFL Combine. However, he garnered lots of attention with an impressive performance at Central Florida’s Pro Day.

The Oakland Raiders selected him with the 181st overall pick in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They signed Murray to a four-year, $2.26 million contract on June 6, 2013.

Unfortunately, he suffered a severe ankle sprain and was added to the IR, causing him to miss his entire rookie season.

Murray started the 2014 season as the third running back on the depth chart behind Darren McFadden and Maurice-Jones Drew. However, as the team remained winless, they turned to Murray in Week 11, hoping for a spark. He responded to the opportunity with 59 yards on seven carries.

The following week, he finished with four carries for 112 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, which included his first NFL touchdown.

Murray had his first NFL start in Week 15 and remained the starter for the rest of the season. He finished his first year with 82 carries, 424 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns.

That 2014 performance won him the starting job going into the 2015 season. Murray became the first Raider to rush for 1,000 yards in one season since 2010 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

The 2016 season led to Murray’s playoff debut as the Raiders faced the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round. The Raiders lost 27–14, and Murray had his first NFL postseason rushing touchdown.

On March 16, 2017, Murray moved on and signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Though he had been No. 28 in Oakland, he switched to No. 25 in honor of his best friend, who had died the previous year.

While rookie Dalvin Cook originally outperformed him, he tore his ACL in Week 4, and the team turned back to Murray for the remainder of the season.

During his Minnesota era, Murray finished with 1,420 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 37 receptions, and 244 receiving yards.

On March 13, 2019, Murray moved on again, signing a four-year, $14.4 million contract with the New Orleans Saints to complement Alvin Kamara.

Although he signed as the backup, Murray started in 15 regular season games, and one playoff game as Kamara battled ankle and knee injuries and COVID-19 throughout both seasons.

He combined for 1,293 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 57 receptions, 411 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns through both seasons.

The Saints released Murray on September 7, 2021, after he refused to take a pay cut.

On September 10, 2021, the Baltimore Ravens signed Murray following injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, and Gus Edwards. He finished the 2021 season with 501 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, and 75 receiving yards and started in six games.

Over and over again, Murray has stepped in and performed well for teams after being a backup running back.

Murray was signed to the Saints practice squad on September 13, 2022. He was elevated to the active roster in Week 4.

The Denver Broncos plucked him off the Saint’s practice squad following a season-ending injury to Javonte Williams.

Murray the Denver Broncos back

After Melvin Gordon was released, Murray became the team’s starter in Week 12.

Despite being 32 years old, Murray is poised to have his best rushing season since 2017.

Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Murray had 24 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. His 130 yards rushing total was Murray’s highest total in a game since 2018 and the fourth-highest single-game total of his career. His performance won him a game ball, the first he’d ever been given in his career.

In nine games with Denver, Murray has rushed for 510 yards with four touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. This puts him on pace to finish with 680 yards rushing, which would be the fifth-highest total for a running back who started a season over 30 years old with the Broncos.

Murray has also solved the fumbling problem that the Broncos dealt with in the first half of the season. He has yet to fumble in a Denver jersey.

Murray’s resurgence has been such a welcome surprise. The team will continue to lean on him, hoping to finish the season strong.

The Denver Broncos will look to build a win streak as they visit sunny Los Angeles to face the Rams on Christmas Day at 2:30 PM MST.