Murphy exits on own terms

Rob Murphy (left) announced his retirement from the CFL yesterday as friend and former Argos...

Rob Murphy (left) announced his retirement from the CFL yesterday as friend and former Argos teammate Adriano Belli looks on. Murphy leaves as one of the league's best offensive linemen. (Caitlyn Holroyd photo)

CAITLYN HOLROYD, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:47 PM ET

TORONTO - Standing in the middle of a dimly lit downtown Toronto bar and holding a bouquet of flowers, Rob Murphy didn’t look like such a scary guy — save for his 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame.

Had he been on the field, of course, it would have been a different story.

The former Toronto Argonaut and B.C. Lion and was joined by friends and former teammates Thursday afternoon as he announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League after six seasons. Murphy said it was something he wanted to do on his own terms.

“It just came to a point in time where, you know, I’ve played 13 years in two leagues and it got to the point where when I blew my knee out this past year, that thought kind of creeps into your mind. Then when free agency started, I just wanted to see what was out there and essentially there were opportunities out there for me to continue to play but not being the highest-paid guy in this league anymore.”

Even moreso, the 35-year-old wanted to have his three-year-old triplets be able to come and watch him play another season. When he realized it wasn’t going to happen, he decided it was the right time to retire.

Murphy joined the CFL in 2006 when he signed with the Lions as a free agent. He would go on to win a Grey Cup with the team that year and signed with the Argonauts in 2009, where he played and started in 43 games for the Boatmen. Prior to joining the CFL, Murphy had stints in the NFL with the Detroit, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Kansas City.

Making the transition from the NFL to the CFL wasn’t easy for the Buffalo native.

“I came into this league in 2006 not knowing anything, you know, you get pampered in the prima donna aspect of being an NFL player. I remember coming in, the first flight we took it was a commercial flight, I was like, ‘Where’s our private plane?’ It was just like, welcome to the CFL,” Murphy said.

“The thing that I loved about it, there was really no egos in this league. The guys for the most part play this game for the love of the game and it was so refreshing for me. My last three years in the NFL, I really became jaded with a lot of these phenomenal athletes that didn’t really appreciate the game.”

In a career filled with accolades, Murphy became one of the CFL’s top offensive tackles and was recognized four out of his six seasons in the league. He was named a divisional all-star four times, CFL all-star three times, West Division most outstanding lineman twice and the league’s most outstanding lineman twice during his career.

Murphy was also named “Nastiest Player” in the CFL according to a TSN players poll at the end of the 2010 season. He was the kind of guy other players loved to hate — or, in some cases, just loved.

“I fell in love with him when he was playing for the B.C. Lions. Not too many players can come and individually make an impact on a team like Rob Murphy did in 2006,” said former Argos teammate Adriano Belli, who was on hand for Thursday’s celebration.

“The years previous, the B.C. Lions were known as a soft team, they didn’t have much character. I remember in particular that year, we played against B.C. Lions in the Grey Cup — I was playing Montreal — and that whole team took on a sense of being a tough guy — that tough guy mentality — because of one guy.”

Whatever he does next will have to provide Murphy with a physical outlet.

“Even now, your body is trained and at this point for the last 13 years and even farther, this is when your blood starts to boil. You know that training camp is a week away and you’re testosterone is at an all-time high and ready to go out and more or less hurt someone.”

 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

College Career

While attending Ohio State University, Murphy was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes football team. He participated in the 1997 Rose Bowl and the 1998 Sugar Bowl and was named an All-American both years.

Chicago Enforcers

In 2001, Murphy was drafted 184th overall by the Chicago Enforcers of the short-lived XFL league started by Vince McMahon of WWE and NBC. He started 11 games and then made his way to the NFL at the end of the season.

NFL Career

Prior to joining the CFL, Murphy had stints with the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

Grey Cup Ring

Murphy joined the CFL in 2006 after signing with the B.C. Lions as a free agent prior to the start of the season. His team would go on to win the 94th Grey Cup.

Most Outstanding

Offensive Lineman

Murphy holds two most outstanding offensive lineman titles which he won while playing for the B.C. Lions during his first two seasons in the CFL (2006, 2007).

CFL All Star

A three-time CFL all-star, Murphy earned the title during the 2006, 2007 and 2010 seasons. His last all-star title was earned while playing with the Toronto Argonauts, where he would finish his career.

 

 

 


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