In a stunning development, 25-year-old O.J. Murdoch (Murdock) , a reserve receiver for the Tennessee Titans, killed himself, according to police in Tampa, his hometown.
Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said officers found Murdock inside his car Monday morning with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The car was parked in front of Middleton High School, where Murdock attended school.
He was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead.
The team said over the weekend that Murdock did not report to training camp over because of what it called a “personal issue.”
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of O.J. Murdock’s death this morning,” the Titans said in a statement Monday. “In his brief time here, a number of our players, coaches and staff had grown close to O.J., and this is a difficult time for them. He spent the last year battling back from an Achilles injury as he prepared for this year’s training camp. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy.”
Murdock, a highly recruited player out of high school, signed with South Carolina out of high school but played in only four games, making one catch, after redshirting his first season. He was arrested for shoplifting at a Florida department store during the 2006 season and suspended.
Murdock transferred to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi and then to Division II Fort Hays State in Kansas. As a senior in 2010, he had 60 catches for 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns.
That earned him an invitation to the NFL scouting combine. After going undrafted, he was signed by the Titans last summer but spent the 2011 season on injured reserve after hurting his right Achilles early in training camp.
There was no word about possible reasons for Murdock to take his own life.