July just sucks. It’s hot, people pretend that they like golf, and the highlight is getting to watch your team practice in the sweltering summer heat.
The month began with the three-year anniversary of Steve McNair’s death. I wrote about that on the Bleach. It would be tough for a player to hurt his legacy more in death than McNair, although Joe Paterno’s doing a heck of a job from beyond the grave. What McNair has is a body of work, a great career, a family, and an impact on everywhere he lived in his life. I can go to youtube and watch him lead the Titans over the Jaguars to win the AFC Championship.
With O.J. Murdock, there’s none of that. He was a high-school star, the 10th ranked wideout in his high school class. That’s impressive, but high school stars rarely make the NFL, and for Murdock to end up in Titans camp last summer was a victory in itself. He injured his Achilles and ended up on IR. NFL teams love to put young players on IR to give them a redshirt year of sorts.
Murdock wasn’t going to have much of a chance to make the final roster. The Titans were loaded at receiver, six-deep, and only an injury or Kenny Britt suspension would open up a roster spot for one of the unheralded undrafted guys. Those are the tales that seldom get told, of the players living on the roster bubble and hoping to continue the NFL dream if only for one more game.
It’s not for his life that we mourn. It’s for the possibilities of 50 more years. There’s so much to do in one life, even if that professional football dream never comes to fruition. Murdock got closer than most of us do. He got a locker, a jersey number, and a playbook.
So best of luck, rest of the NFL fan bases. You can’t hate July more than Titans fans do.