NFL Hopeful Chases Dreams After Surviving Aurora Mass Shooting
Former Colorado Buffaloes special teams player Jordan Murphy is, by anyone's account, a longshot to make the NFL. The former college fullback never caught a pass or carried the ball in fulfilling his duties on the Colorado football team, and he was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Yet regardless of the odds being so significantly stacked against him, Murphy continues to chase his dream of playing professional football. That perserverance is largely fueled by the reinvigorated appreciation for life that he gained after narrowly surviving the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. Murphy explained to ESPN's Hannah Storm that he battled his resulting depression by honoring those who lost their lives.
"...there are people there that past away that didn't get to fulfill their dreams, and I wanted to honor them go after mine."
He echoed those sentiments in another interview with ESPN.com staff writer Jeff Legwold.
“Life is short; you don’t really know how many days you have," said Murphy. "I learned it when I walked into that theater thinking I had plenty of time to do things.”
That theater is where 12 people were killed and 70 more were injured when a gunman whose name doesn't deserve to be written opened fire on the audience of a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. According to Murphy, it is by luck and perhaps fate that he is alive today, as the gunman took aim at him as he made his escape.
Here is Murphy's horrifying account of the shooting, as told to Legwold:
"[The gunman] comes in to the right, my front right -- we were in the fourth row. I can see his weapons. I can see him pretty clearly," Murphy said. "He's dressed up like Bane, you know, the character in the movie, so you're thinking, 'Oh, it's opening night, this is some cool stunt to get people going.' But then he launches the tear gas and right then I knew it was real."
"We ducked down, we waited a few seconds. I heard his gun click that he was out of ammunition, so we crawled as fast as we could and then stood up at the end of the row to run. I think I attracted his attention because he turned his head to me, took a shot. Don't know if it was a shotgun or his AR-15, but the bullet hit right over my head, drywall exploded, sprayed on my face, the dust went in my eyes. At that point I'm thinking I'm not getting out, but I'm running along the way, we were getting ready to turn the corner and the bullet just smashed the drywall. They always said the reason I couldn't play Division I as a linebacker was because I wasn't 6-2. I'm 6 feet. If I was 6-2, I'd probably be dead because that bullet is in my head."
If that's not a reason to believe that you don't still belong here, I don't know what is. One thing is for sure, Murphy is a really easy kid to root for. And he certainly wouldn't be the first guy to make it to the NFL, and even make an impact, after failing to recieve and invite to the NFL Combine.
Here's hoping that we see more of Murphy on ESPN in the future.
You can watch Murphy's full interview with Hannah Storm here:
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