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Webster, Munchak on Passing of O.J. Murdock



It's obviously a very sad day here at Baptist Sports Park with the passing of O.J. Murdock. As I said, [it's] very tough for us as a team, just as a human being in general. You never want to lose somebody at the age of 25. With a life in front of him, as O.J.'s was, it's very difficult. We were concerned initially when O.J. didn't report on the 27th. We were able to make contact with him. He assured us everything was okay and he would be here on Sunday. He didn't make it in on Sunday. I was in a meeting this morning. The league are the ones that initially informed us that he had a gunshot wound and was in critical condition. I decided to get out of my meeting and then shortly after that, we received the news that he passed and, of course, Coach Munchak notified the team. Like I said, it's a very difficult day and our heart goes out to his family, his mother, and father. Like I said, it's tough. It's tough whenever you lose somebody, especially that young. So, our heart goes out to his family.

(on what O.J. Murdock said when he didn't report)

He didn't give us a lot of information. He was injured. When he left here, he probably wasn't quite ready to go. We were probably a little more relaxed on him, because had he come in here, he probably wouldn't have been ready to practice right away anyway. So, we were willing to give him until Sunday and then see what happened there.



(on Munchak and Murdock's last communication)

The last time we were all together as a team was back in June, our last mini-camp practice day. He was scheduled back with the rest of the team on the 23rd which was Friday. He obviously hadn't practiced because of his health, so we knew that was something to evaluate when he got back on Friday with the rest of the team. We weren't sure where he was going to be at, but there was a good chance he probably wasn't going to be back at practice right away.

(on if there was any indication Murdock was suffering from an emotional situation)

We didn't have any. Like I said, it's a phone call you never want to get. It's something that as a head coach you never think you will stand in front of your team and have to give them that type of news. I think everyone was shocked by it and we weren't aware of any issues going on.

(on the impact Murdock's passing has had on the team)

Yes, of course it does. [He was] someone that has been here a year now, even though he got hurt right away and he wasn't here during the season because he was back home rehabbing. Some, especially in the receiving room and the receiving coach, those guys have all been together quite a bit, and when you are on a team, you are on a team. You are part of it even though you are not necessarily playing on Sunday or practicing with an injury. It's a depressing thing, an injury alone. So, he wasn't involved in our day-to-day activity because of his injury, but believe me that's something that is hard to handle. It's hard to take down for these guys how something like that can happen. Like Ruston said, 25 years old with his whole life ahead of him. Somebody they just saw a month ago and were assuming to see this weekend. I think it's going to take a while for a lot of these guys to understand. I don't think you ever understand why something like this happens. Everyone handles things differently. At some point, we will be back to work and get busy again. We will do what we can to heal in the process.

(on if Murdock had any history of concussions)

Not that I know of.


(on O.J.'s personality)

I was living in Tampa when he was a high school player, so I remember him as a high school player. He was a great high school player there and when he signed with South Carolina, that was a big deal. He was a talented guy, who we felt like when we signed him would have a chance because he did have some skills. He'd gone, I believe, to the East-West game in Orlando. He had a good week there. So, all those things. We felt good about O.J. I remember him from when he was a high school player. He is a talented young man and this is just awful news.

(on if O.J. was still fast by NFL standards)

He was a kid who could run. He had good speed for the NFL. He had good speed and had a little bit of a running back's build. He was good after the catch with the ball in his hands. He was tough. He could run the possession routes. O.J. definitely had some skills. Last year, he just got hurt quickly so we never really got to see a lot of that.


(on how O.J. Murdock handled himself with injury and recovery process)

He handled himself well. He was here for camp when he got hurt and stayed through most of camp and we put him on IR. Then he went home to rehab. We were not around him a lot until he came back for spring. But just like anyone he was handling it well, he was rehabbing and doing what he was told to do, we did not have any problem at all. That is why it was such a shock when he was not here on Friday. That kind of took us by surprise because it was not something we expected. It made us nervous from the beginning and we were anxious to find out what was going on. When we heard, we assumed that everything was ok, and we planned to sit back and wait until he got here to find out what was going on.


(on plans for the team attending O.J. Murdock's funeral)

Well I am sure there will be a group of people that go to the funeral. For right now we do not have any details, it is still pretty fresh. So we are still working through that.


(on if the team needs consoling after an incident like this on the team)

We talked in the meeting and going through today's events and that is something we discussed going forward to this afternoon. We have a few people here that our players can chat with. Our team chaplain and talking with other players seems to be helpful. I think we will reach out to each other and reach out to a friend; we will just have to judge over these next few days. It may not be something that hits someone today but maybe a few days from now. You want them to know that they are not alone. We are a family and we are together. If something is bothering them they can come talk to anybody.  I'm sure we have people that will be here if there are players that need more than that.


(on any plans to remember O.J. Murdock by)

We are talking through that now. It is still fresh, we have not got to that point yet.


(on a moment of silence for the first preseason game)

Like Ruston said, we have not gone down that road yet. It is pretty scattered and we are dealing with the moment right now.


(on if they made contact with him)

I did not talk with him. (Munchak)

When he did not report on Friday, we had members of our staff make contact that day. (Webster)

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