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Teammates shocked, saddened by death of Titans WR O.J. Murdock

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Murdock died Sunday morning. (US Presswire)

A day after Titans receiver O.J. Murdock died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in front of his high school in Tampa on Monday, teammates and other colleagues have reacted to his death.

Murdock was supposed to have been in training camp with his teammates, but twice, he was excused from practice last weekend for “personal reasons.”

“It is a horrible thing,” tight end Jared Cook said, via the Tennessean. “You just don't see things like this coming. He was an awesome dude, he really was.”

Cook roomed with Murdock for one season at South Carolina (Cook also roomed freshman year with Kenny McKinley, the former Broncos receiver who committed suicide in 2010). One of Murdock's current roommates, receiver Damian Williams, had been trying to touch base with Murdock.

“He told me Friday night he was doing all right and would be here,” Williams said.

Instead, police found his body in front of Middleton High School at about 8:30 a.m. Monday, and after transporting him to Tampa General Hospital, he was pronounced dead at 10:43 a.m.

Murdock hadn't played in a game for the Buccaneers. He missed all of last season with an injured Achilles, and though he couldn't participate in offseason workouts as he rehabbed, he was supposed to arrive in Tennessee on Friday.

“When you are missing part of your family, it is always hard to focus,” Williams said. “But at the same time, he would want us to come out here and ball out. That was his personality, that's who he was.”

Murdock apparently had been busy saying his goodbyes. The Tampa Tribune's prep sports writer, Bill Ward, received a text message from Murdock at 6:03 a.m. Sunday.

"Hey Mr Ward, it's OJ Murdock…. I just want to thank u for everything you've done for me and my family. Can't thank you enough,” Murdock wrote.

A few hours later, Ward responded by writing, “Hi O.J. Thanks for those kind words. Are you recovered from the Achilles and back in camp with the (Titans)?"

Ward never heard back.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.

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