TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Tennessee Titans wide receiver O.J. Murdock has died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Murdock, 25, was found in his car outside his Tampa high school Monday morning in critical condition, according to Tampa police.
“At approximately 8:30 a.m., officers discovered the victim’s body in his car in front of Middleton High School with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the police said in a release. “He was transported to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition where he died at 10:43 a.m.”
CBS Sports reports that Murdock, a Tampa area product who signed with the Titans a year ago, was excused twice from practice this past weekend for “personal reasons.” Murdock didn’t play last year, spending the season on injured reserve after hurting his Achilles’.
“This is just surprise,” former Middleton coach Harry Hubbard told the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t know if something else is involved or not. That just knocks me off my feet.”
The Titans organization confirmed Murdock’s passing in a statement.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of O.J. Murdock’s death this morning,” the Titans said in a statement. “In his brief time here, a number of our players, coaches and staff had grown close to O.J., and this is a difficult time for them. He spent the last year battling back from an Achilles injury as he prepared for this year’s training camp. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy.”
It’s a sad ending to a life and career that had seemed to have turned around. A standout high school player, Murdock committed to play for South Carolina in 2005. But Murdock was dismissed from the Gamecocks after two years when he was charged with grand theft. He wound up at Division II Fort Hays State, where he would recommit himself to the game. Last year, Murdock signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent. He would never play a game for Tennessee.