GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. —**Running back DeMarco Murray is heading into his sixth NFL season, having spent time previously in Dallas and Philadelphia. He hasn't played a game yet with the Titans, but said there's already something different about his newest stop, in Tennessee.
"Nashville has been great to me,'' Murray said on Tuesday from the Titans Caravan. "I've been in the league for a little while now, but this is the first time I've bought a house, so that should tell you how much I love it.
"The people are nice, the city is great, and the team has been awesome. Coach (Mike) Mularkey is a good man, and my teammates have been great to me. Already, I'm very comfortable."
Murray was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, his final season with the Cowboys. He parlayed that success into a lucrative long-term deal with the Eagles.
The Titans traded for Murray in March, however. Then the team went out and drafted Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry from Alabama in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Murray said on Tuesday he wasn't offended. He said there's room for both of them with the Titans.
"Everyone gets this misconception of, 'I want to be the only running back,' Murray said. "But everywhere I've been, (in college at) Oklahoma, in Dallas, Philadelphia, I have always had other guys with me,'' Murray said. "I think the Titans are going to do a good job of letting me do what I do, and I think the other guys will have a chance as well.
"I have heard a lot of great things about (Henry). He's a great kid. I am excited to work with him. Obviously we have a lot of other running backs, too, I have gotten a chance to know. But I think Derrick coming in will push everybody, and I think it is only going to help the team. I am excited to have him and I want to teach him as much as I can and hopefully I can learn from him."
After making the pick, Mularkey called Murray to let him know why the team made the selection.
"He definitely didn't have to do that, but that kind of shows the character of him and the organization,'' Murray said of Mularkey. "There's a lot of respect on both sides. I am very excited to get Derrick in here and can't wait for him to come in. I want to kind of take him under my wing and learn some things from him, and teach him a lot of things.
"He's going to be a great asset to this team for years to come. I think in the second half, the fourth quarter, he's going to be wearing people down. I am excited to get to work with him. He is a downhill runner just like myself. … Picking him, it's kind of a smash-mouth football team, and let Marcus (Mariota) do his thing." Henry ran for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2015 at Alabama while guiding the Crimson Tide to the national championship. He was the second running back selected in the NFL Draft, behind only Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, who went fourth overall to the Cowboys.
Murray was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 after leading the NFL and setting Cowboys franchise records in rushing yards (1,845), and scrimmage yards (2,261). He scored 13 touchdowns on 392 carries in 2014, an average of 115.3 yards per game that season, when he posted 12 100-yard games.
In his lone season with the Eagles last year, Murray ran for 702 yards and six touchdowns on just 193 carries.
Other players on the Titans Caravan like the idea of a one-two punch.
"When you can have a guy like that when you already have DeMarco Murray, a load like that,'' cornerback Jason McCourty said of Henry. "You can see the identity we are going for on offense. … I'm just glad we don't do a lot of hitting in practice. You can see we want to beat teams down this year."
The Titans currently have seven running backs on the roster right now – Murray, Henry, Antonio Andrews, David Cobb, Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey, David Fluellen.
Murray said the competition should make everyone better. He said he's been impressed with the team's other running backs during offseason work.
Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo agreed.
"DeMarco is going to get his carries, and he's going to get a bunch of them,'' Orakpo said. "But you have to have a guy when DeMarco needs a breather that can come in and you don't lose anything and Henry will help there. But it also helps the competition. We have a lot of good running backs, and it's fuel to the fire.
"Adding competition will make guys like Sankey, Cobb and Andrews, all of them, hungry to go out there and compete. And it will make us better as a team."
Running back DeMarco Murray arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)