From Worcester to Kansas City: My Journey to the NFL
By Jimmy Murray ’17
At several different points along my journey from Holy Cross football to the NFL, I’ve been asked a certain question many different times. “When did you know you could do it?”
Many of my current peers have described to me a distinct moment in which somebody told them that they could make it to the next level. Players recount hearing a coach or scout telling them of the opportunity, and remember a subsequent fire being lit within them. At once they began working harder than they ever had before and did everything in their power to turn that dream into a reality. Although it seems like it makes sense, I still struggle to find a response when I get that question.
On paper, this moment might’ve come after a spring practice during the midst of my junior year at Holy Cross, when our offensive coordinator (Brian Rock) asked to see a few of us after practice. While most thought sprints or a punishment of some kind were in our near future, we would soon find out that this meeting was quite the contrary. Coach Rock informed us that an NFL scout would be coming around to take measurements later on that week. All of us were overjoyed, and tried to keep the grinning to a minimum on the way back to the locker room.
And yet I don’t remember a “fire” being lit within me. I don’t remember a whole lot changing to be entirely honest.
Personally, I believe that this kind of work ethic and commitment that many of my peers now describe, was expected of us from the time we first stepped foot on campus at Holy Cross. Everything we did – whether on the field, in the weight room or in the classroom – was expected to be done with a certain amount of effort and passion. And if it wasn’t, we would hear about it. By the end of four years (five for me and a few lucky others) this attention to detail is ingrained in us by our coaches and fellow players. We graduated from Holy Cross ready to attack whatever field we decided to go into.
As I began training last winter, I tried to carry these lessons with me just as I always had at Holy Cross. By the time our pro day came around in March, a couple of my teammates and I were more than ready to showcase our talents. The day was filled with excitement around the hill and went by all too fast. But it would ultimately result in three different opportunities with NFL teams for my teammates and I.
After signing with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent, I would have my fair share of struggles throughout OTAs and training camp. Whether it was adjusting to the speed of some of my new teammates, or working through an injury in the middle of training camp, things have not always come easy. But by trying to replicate the work ethic and commitment that had been emphasized at Holy Cross, I was able to work through them. At the end of August, I was ultimately offered a chance to be on the practice squad here with the Chiefs. This would be a great opportunity for me to continue to be a part of this team in just about every way other than playing in the games. I was able to continue learning what it takes to make it in this league, while working on my deficiencies in practice so I could continue to improve every day. As the season progressed, a few injuries along our offensive line would present me with an opportunity to move up to the active roster.
I received that good news on October 23rd. After the excited calls with my parents and other family members, I immediately let my buddies from Holy Cross know. Within hours, many of them had booked flights halfway across the country to make sure they were at the game that weekend. Of the many surreal moments of that first game day, spending it with some of the guys that I had been through it all with at Holy Cross was truly special.
As the season has progressed, just being a part of this team has been an unbelievable experience. I’m surrounded by so many people here that are not only extremely talented, but also work exceptionally hard and continue to recommit themselves day after day. I recognize that although I’m only a rookie, there’s something special about this team and I try not to take much for granted.
As we begin our own journey into the playoffs this Saturday, I’m sure it will be filled with many ups and downs. We have been working as hard as we can to make sure we are prepared for everything we will face against the Colts. We look forward to the challenges of this week’s game, and know we will have to be at our best in order to be successful.
On a personal level, it’s always reassuring to know I have the Holy Cross family in my corner. It is great to have Crusaders young and old still cheering me on, throughout the rest of this season and hopefully for many more years to come. I cannot thank Crusader Nation enough and I will continue to use everything I learned during my time at Holy Cross to make you proud.
Go Crusaders, and Go Chiefs!
Watch Jimmy Murray and the Kansas City Chiefs against the Indianapolis Colts this Saturday, Jan. 12, at 4:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC.