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News / Stories / June 5, 2007
Murphy Returns To Green Bay As Coaching Intern

by Mike Spofford, Packers.com
posted 06/05/2007

Terrence  Murphy Terrence Murphy left the game of football in early 2006 due to injury. By his own admission, he didn't walk away from the game, but ran from it for the better part of a year.

He took finance classes to work toward a Master's degree. He worked for a real estate development company. He explored some opportunities in ministry, and even considered applying to a seminary.

"I was just getting away from football," said Murphy, a second-round draft pick by the Packers in 2005 whose career was cut short by a neck injury on a helmet-to-helmet hit on a kickoff return against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 3 of his rookie season. Subsequent to the injury, doctors discovered Murphy had a condition called stenosis, or a narrowing of the spine near the neck, and he could no longer play.

"I didn't watch any football, I didn't talk football, my friends didn't bring it up. I got some new hobbies, got some golf clubs. But I just wasn't happy."

He may have left the game, but the game never left him. So now, Murphy not only is back in football, but he's back temporarily with the organization he grew to love in an all-too-short period of time.

Murphy arrived in Green Bay this week as one of three interns on the Packers coaching staff. He plans to work with the team through the rest of the June organized team activities (OTAs) and then continue through the first three weeks of training camp in July and early August. He'll then return to the coaching job he began earlier this spring at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, near his hometown of Chapel Hill.

"We thought very highly of Terrence as both a player and as a person," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's unfortunate that his playing career ended prematurely. I'm excited to now give the young man an opportunity to advance his coaching career - the thing young coaches often need the most is an opportunity. As I told Terrence the day he left here (in 2006), he'll always be a Packer."

Murphy certainly was reminded of that on Monday, a whirlwind first day. He was introduced at the morning team meeting to chants of "T-Murph!" and other whoops and hollers from his former teammates.

"It feels good just to be back around the game," Murphy said. "The biggest thing that really helped me when I got back is everybody was hugging me, and it was like a reunion.

"It felt good to know that they still care about me and they still care about how I'm doing. I hadn't seen these guys in a whole year. I hadn't heard people call me 'T-Murph' in a long time. It was back to Terrence, but now it's back to the football days and 'T-Murph.'"

Murphy, who is helping coach wide receivers and kick returners at Trinity Valley, will be helping Edgar Bennett with the running backs for the Packers.

A quarterback during his high school playing days, and then a wide receiver in college and the pros, Murphy hopes that learning another position will help him become more well-rounded as he pursues a coaching career.

"In the end, I want to be an offensive coordinator, and I will be an offensive coordinator, at a D-I college or somewhere like that," Murphy said. "I really feel like this will help my career, being able to know what everybody does.

"I told 'EB' I'm going to sap him for his knowledge. I'm here to learn from these guys."

Looking back, Murphy actually laid the foundation for a coaching career in high school.

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A confessed game-film geek, even as a youngster, Murphy was playing quarterback for his seven-on-seven team in Texas and stayed up late one night designing plays on his mother's computer. He put together an entire offense that helped his squad reach the prestigious seven-on-seven state tournament, held at Texas A&M, where Murphy eventually went to school.

"Other high schools would come watch our games to try to scheme our offense, what we were running, because they couldn't stop us," Murphy said. "You can't stop plays that are drawn up in the dirt."

The joy in his voice is evident as the memories flood back, and it's clear he feels he belongs in the game.

He doesn't believe his year away from it was a waste, either. He had to explore where his heart was, and among the off-field pursuits, he became immersed in ministry work, which he plans to continue in Texas.

Through Youth Impact Ministries, Inc., he worked with inner-city and under-privileged kids and organized a youth football camp for kids who had never enjoyed the opportunity of attending one before. Several A&M alums came back to help him with the camp, including current Packers defensive end Michael Montgomery.

He also started a bible study group at A&M through Athletes in Action, and he began doing speaking engagements, including once telling his story of football success and struggle in front of 7,000 people attending a Christian concert.

Ultimately his rededicated faith, nudges from friends, and heart-to-heart talks with confidants like former A&M coach R.C. Slocum brought Murphy back to football. He said he received a call from Packers General Manager Ted Thompson about the coaching internship but hadn't decided for sure at that time if he'd pursue it.

He explored graduate assistant coaching opportunities at a handful of Division I-A college programs but decided to dive in on the Trinity Valley staff, and when he received a follow-up call from McCarthy with another invitation to take the internship here, he figured the chance to come back to Green Bay was too good to pass up.

"God has given me a goal, not only to do ministry and football, but to be a good coach, and now I have to work my butt off," Murphy said. "That was the hardest part about getting injured, knowing I worked my butt off, and I tried to do the right thing. I handled myself on and off the field.

"But now God is starting to show me the benefits of taking care of business off the field, treating people right and caring about people. Because now people still care about me and are excited to see me doing better."
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