Mark Murphy was surprised at B.J. Raji’s decision to walk away

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When Mark Murphy was playing in the NFL, the league quit you before you quit the league.

So the Packers president admitted that based on his own experience, he was surprised when defensive tackle B.J. Raji stepped away from the game for at least this year.

“Oh yeah, he had been communicating with Russ [Ball, the Packers’ chief negotiator] and we thought we had a deal done,” Murphy said, via Stu Courtney of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I think it surprised his agent.”

The 29-year-old defensive tackle said he was willing to step away for a year because he wasn’t as committed as he felt he needed to be, despite what he termed a “very, very nice” offer from the Packers. He referred to it as a “hiatus” but follows along with a number of stars who are walking away from the game while they have chances to continue.

It wasn’t that way when Murphy was playing, as the former Washington safety saw his career cut short by injuries.

“My career ended – it wasn’t my decision – I wanted to keep playing, desperately,” Murphy said. “I wanted to keep playing but I wasn’t able to. As I look back on it, it’s probably the best thing that happened to me. I think most players will play as long as they can but I think you can play too long. If your heart isn’t in it and you’re not passionate about it, it’s probably the best thing to do, step away from the game.”

Raji left the door open to change his mind, but the decision illustrates what seems like a significant shift in player attitudes, especially when stars such as Calvin Johnson are hanging it up while they clearly could be playing.

23 responses to “Mark Murphy was surprised at B.J. Raji’s decision to walk away

  1. These guys are making crazy money and can afford to walk away physically intact. That hasn’t always been the case.

  2. The shift in attitudes has a lot to do with the major increase in salaries.

    Guys 30 years ago would have had to get a job if they left the game early.

  3. If these guys are smart with their money even guys that make the league min for a few years can be set up pretty well financially. Add to that what is now known about concussions and the general toll the game takes on their bodies early retirements being more common shouldn’t be surprising. One upside to this is it opens opportunities for more guys to play the game.

  4. I think it’s easier for these guys to say ‘take a year off’ than fully commit to retiring. Having said that, it’s harder for the big guys to stay in shape just on their own for a year than maybe for WR. I’m fine with guys doing what’s best for them. Maybe it will be a trend where guys take the money for 4-6 years and then live off that, but that takes financial discipline, too.

  5. Murphy was also shocked when he first arrived in Green Bay and discovered people would pay $250 for a piece of paper with the words Packer and Stock printed on it. Since then he has learned to take advantage of it.

  6. No surprise to learn that players in Green Bay would much rather take a year off than continue to play for that dumpster fire.

    Meanwhile in Minnesota, FA’s are flocking over and current players take pay cuts to stay and play for the Vikings.

    Yes, quite a shift in attitudes indeed.

  7. To Cheeseisfattening:
    Murphy wasn’t as surprised as Viking fans were when they found out their owner was convicted of fraud.

  8. I love to see MN fans make fun of our stock donations. Unlike them we had a choice as to whether or not we contributed to our stadium.

  9. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Mar 21, 2016 10:58 AM
    Hey, did anyone see Northern Iowa blow a 12-point lead in the last 34 seconds last night? I thought I was watching a Packer playoff game.

    —————-

    As a Packers fan, I hate giving you a thumbs up, but you’re actually a funny and reasonable Vikings “troll”. Unlike some others I could name but won’t.

  10. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Mar 21, 2016 10:58 AM
    Hey, did anyone see Northern Iowa blow a 12-point lead in the last 34 seconds last night? I thought I was watching a Packer playoff game.
    ————————–
    At least they didn’t miss a 3 as wide left as Blair Walsh.

  11. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Mar 21, 2016 10:58 AM
    Hey, did anyone see Northern Iowa blow a 12-point lead in the last 34 seconds last night? I thought I was watching a Packer playoff game

    ——–

    No, but I saw Bronson Koenig sink a 3-point buzzer beater to shock Xavier. Did you see Bill Murray’s face when that happened? Looked like every Vike fan after #wideleft2.0.

  12. Raji quit. At the right time. He’s going to take cooking lessons. From me. In Milwaukee. At 213.

  13. Not quite as bad as blowing a 9 point 4th quarter lead at home, but pretty tough for their fans no doubt.

  14. This was an honorable gesture by Raji. He knows he can’t fully commit this year.

    This is the sort of principled behavior you so often see associated with the most successful franchise in the history of sports – the 13 time World Champion Green Bay Packers.

    It’s better football.

    For better people.

  15. Great athlete for such a big guy, but if he’s really done playing football I hope he keeps his weight in check, for his own long term health.

  16. Considering the degree of wear on the body and the constant injuries, especially for linemen, taking a year off to heal up isn’t a bad idea at all. Next season he may be back, or he may decide it’s not a bad idea to walk away while he can still walk.

  17. Geez! Don’t you think it might have something to do with the fact that players who used to be paid in the hundreds, or thousands, of dollars are now being paid in the millions?

    Easier to step away from the game early if you have a multi-million dollar nest egg, don’t you think?

  18. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Mar 21, 2016 10:58 AM

    Hey, did anyone see Northern Iowa blow a 12-point lead in the last 34 seconds last night? I thought I was watching a Packer playoff game.
    ————————–

    Typical Minnesotan. Doesn’t know the difference between college basketball and NFL football. Maybe they’ll figure it out if the get a competitive team in one of those sports.

  19. You always let your boys go. I would to when you keep wasting 15-1 seasons and choking with a lead in the NFC. He had a better chance with someone else. Poor Rodgers should leave when his contract is up like Peyton did and bet he wins with another org.

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