WR Louis Murphy, who first signed with the Bucs in March, agreed to a three-year extension with the team on Friday
Murphy, who played his high school ball in the Bay area, emerged as the Bucs' top slot receiver in 2014
Though he wasn't on the roster for the first three weeks, Murphy made an instant impact upon returning in Week Four
Louis Murphy left some unfinished business on the field in 2014, as an ankle injury ended his season with two games still to play. On the other hand, Murphy managed to get some important business done before that season was officially over.
On Friday, the Buccaneers announced that they had agreed to terms with Murphy on a three-year contract extension. It was a bonus Christmas present for the sixth-year wide receiver, who last March realized a dream by signing with the hometown team. Murphy spent three years with the Oakland Raiders and one each with the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants before joining the Buccaneers, but he played his high school ball in nearby St. Petersburg before heading off to the University of Florida.
Murphy agreed to the deal on Friday morning and was expected to officially sign it after practice in the afternoon.
The 6-0, 200-pound Murphy emerged as the Buccaneers' primary third receiver in 2014, surpassing a number of other candidates to serve as the complement in the slot to 1,000-yard outside receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Despite playing in just 11 games, Murphy ranks fourth on the team, and third among wideouts, with 31 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns.
In his six NFL seasons, Murphy has played in 82 games and made 27 starts, recording 152 catches for 2,124 yards and 10 touchdowns. He originally joined the Raiders as a fourth-round pick (#124 overall) in 2009 and immediately pitched in with 34 catches for 521 yards and four scores. Murphy started 18 games over his first two seasons in the NFL, following up with a 41-609-2 season in 2010.
Following the 2011 campaign, Murphy was traded by the Raiders to Carolina, where he played in 16 games with five starts and caught 25 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown. In 2013, he signed with the Giants as an unrestricted free agent.
Murphy's first season in Tampa was slowed by a back injury he suffered at the end of the preseason. In fact, he was not retained when the team formed its first 53-man roster at the beginning of the regular season. However, the Bucs came calling after three weeks and Murphy returned to make an immediate impact. With Evans sidelined by a hamstring injury in Week Four against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Murphy stepped in just a few days after returning to the team and produced six catches for 99 yards. Among those was one of the single biggest plays of the season for the Buccaneers, a 41-yard catch-and-run in the game's final minute that set up Vincent Jackson's game-winning touchdown in a 27-24 decision.
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>WR Louis Murphy turned in one of the biggest plays of the season for the Buccaneers in the team's win at Pittsburgh.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>
Murphy had 16 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns in his first three games with the Buccaneers. He also turned in a his first 100-yard game since Week Three of the 2010 season, snaring six passes for 113 yards at Chicago.
Murphy's 2014 season was cut short by an ankle injury sustained at Carolina in Week 15. The following day, Head Coach Lovie Smith was asked about Murphy's potential future with the team, and Smith made it clear that he wanted the veteran receiver to stick around.
“Oh, I think that’s safe to say that he’s a guy that we like representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," said the coach.
Now Murphy can do just that, and continue to entertain his family and friends in the Bay area, for the next three years.