NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A year ago, running back DeMarco Murray admired Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota from afar.
Now, the two are teammates in Tennessee.
The Titans and Eagles completed a trade on Wednesday for the 2014 NFL's Offensive Player of the Year. In Tennessee, Murray will be paired with the team's second overall pick from a year ago in the offense.
"I think we can have a lot of fun,'' Murray said of Mariota. "Obviously he can zip it, he can throw it. He is an exciting young player and has all the tools needed to be successful in this league."
A third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2011, Murray was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year after leading the NFL and setting Cowboys franchise records in rushing yards (1,845), and scrimmage yards (2,261) in 2014.
In his lone season with the Eagles last season, Murray ran for 702 yards and six touchdowns on just 193 carries.
Running back DeMarco Murray arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
A year after the Titans finished 25th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, Murray said his job will be to help the Titans win – and to help Mariota.
Mariota broke rookie records for most touchdowns (19), completions (230), passing yards (2,818) and passing attempts (370) in his first NFL season. But he missed four games with injuries during a year when he was sacked 38 times.
"I think it will be important for me to come in and take a little pressure off of him, and kind of cause guys to come in the box and open some things up and help protect him, and keep him upright,'' Murray said of Mariota. "I don't want him to have to feel like he has to throw the ball 35 to 40 times in order for us to win.
"So I want to help take pressure off of him. I feel like we're going to have a lot of fun and I think it's going to be a great match with him and I."