Posted: 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
By Chip Towers
ATHENS – I’ve just come from the Aaron Murray Show over at UGA’s Pro Day. There were 15 other players there to show their wares to NFL scouts but, to be clear, this whole deal was primarily about Murray, extending to the fact that Georgia delayed holding the annual exposition nearly a month later than it usually does.
Murray asked for and received from UGA the extra time in order to more fully recover from the ACL surgery he underwent on Nov. 26 of last fall. The original thought was that still wouldn’t be enough time for to fully recover from a reconstruction surgery. But based on what Murray did Wednesday with a couple dozen NFL scouts and executives on hand, it looked to me like he was the same old Murray.
“Hopefully after today we’ll start hearing some more noise,” Murray said after the 45-minute throwing session. “This was just to showing everybody I’m ready to go. We’re anticipating some more workouts and we’ll just see how it goes.”
Beyond physically demonstrating to teams that he was healthy, Wednesday’s throwing session was mostly just going through the motions. You’ll see it cited at various places that Murray completed 48 of 54 of his scripted passes. He wore no pads or helmet and threw to receivers Rhett McGowan, Rantavious Wooten and Blake Sailors, tight end Arthur Lynch and backs Brandon Harton and Corey Campbell on routes they’d rehearsed for 10 days. It was 45 degrees with occasional gusting winds. So there was that.
But what should probably weigh a little more in NFL teams’ evaluations of Murray is those 52 games he played over the last four years. Last time I checked, Murray did pretty well in that CBS primetime broadcast against LSU in Sanford Stadium last fall. I don’t know, but I thought he played fairly decent in that Auburn tilt last November on the Plains. I seem to recall fields full of NFL defensive prospects trying to knock Murray’s head off while he passed for umpteen yards and touchdowns in those 34 SEC contests the last four seasons.
I enjoyed getting a chance to have a relaxed conversation with Denny Murray, Aaron’s dad, while we were waiting for Wednesday’s festivities to get underway. He was telling me that Dr. James Andrews, who oversaw Murray’s rehabilitation, had seen just one other player heal as fast as Murray did from this knee surgery and that was Robert Griffin III.
He also told me that Murray was hurt a lot worse than people thought in that 2010 game against Auburn in which Nick Fairley was allowed to unleash a personal assault. Murray actually left that game with a broken sternum, in addition to shoulder and knee injuries. You’ll note that he finished the game and, with the gift of a bye week, was able to play in the next.
So in addition to fast-healing, Murray’s got that tough thing going for him, too. Sounds like the perfect ingredients for an NFL quarterback if you ask me.
What team will end up taking a chance on Murray? Who knows? Coming into Wednesday, Murray was scheduled to have visits or workouts with the Lions, Browns, Titans, Rams and Dolphins. The Jaguars had a heavy presence at Murray’s workout, including head coach Gus Bradley. But you know about those things. It can be sincere interest or a smokescreen.
In any case, Murray’s day has to be considered a success. He ran around and threw the ball likes he has for the past five years at Georgia. Murray has done all he can do.
“I’m thankful for the cooperation of my teammates and coaches to allow us to push this back like this,” Murray said. “I think we had a great day today and had a lot of fun. All and all a good day.”