Tragedy has struck in the Tennessee Titans organization this morning, as the Tampa Bay Police Department confirmed that wide-out O.J. Murdock died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Murdock, who is a native of the Tampa area, was found in his car in front of Middleton High School, where he was a standout football star.
The Titans receiver had turned his life around after being suspended and later dismissed from the University of South Carolina for grand theft, shaking that incident off and starring for Division II Fort Hays State, which landed him on the NFL radar.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Murdock, who was on injured reserve last season with the Titans after injuring his Achilles’, had not reported to camp this month for personal reasons.
This is the second NFL player to commit suicide this year. Earlier this spring, former legendary San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau took his life, shooting himself in the chest. In an unrelated incident, former Michigan Wolverines standout safety, Charles Drake, apparently killed himself outside of a Los Angeles health clinic.
This is a disturbing trend that the all levels of football must continue to address. The NFL is leading the way in concussion research after the fallout of its embarrassing denial in front of Congress a few years back. Now there must be research dedicated to understanding what and how athletes feel during their playing years and after their storied careers come to a close. Helping players transition back into society must be a priority for the NFL Players Association, the NFL Commissioner’s Office, and the NCAA.
O.J. Murdock was 25-years-old.