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Steelers LB Tyler Murray Spent Offseason Improving for Possible Special Teams Role

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Pittsburgh Steelers Tyler Murray

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed linebacker Tyler Murray to their practice squad in the middle of a game week last season. It helped fill the depth chart out after the Steelers experienced multiple inside linebackers go down. Additionally, it helped Murray’s story of going from an Amazon worker to NFL linebacker overnight go viral.

Murray was released a short time after the Steelers signed more experienced depth in Myles Jack and Blake Martinez. While his stay on the Steelers practice squad was short, Murray earned a reserve/future contract from the team at the start of the offseason. This time, Murray gets the whole offseason to acclimate himself to the Steelers way and he expects his stay to be longer because of that.

“It’s not rushed,” Murray told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now. “Last time when I got here, they were already in the season so I was just trying to see what I could do, see how long I was going to be here for. Now, it’s a big difference. I started from day one, getting the playbook down from the beginning instead of jumping right into it. It’s a better chance for me now that I was actually here during the first training camp.”

Murray’s chances of cracking the Steelers final roster comes down to his ability to play on special teams. The team has their two starting inside backers in Patrick Queen and Elandon Roberts, and they just drafted Payton Wilson in the 2024 NFL Draft. That is all before Cole Holcomb returns at some point from his gruesome injury from a season ago.

Murray knew that in order for him to make the final roster, he needed to get better at special teams. Under the league’s new rules, bigger guys like Murray will be featured on the kickoff coverage in 2024. Improving on special teams is what Murray tried to improve on the most in the offseason.

“Especially with new kickoff [rules] going on, there will be a lot bigger guys out there,” Murray said. “I have been getting with Danny [Smith] just seeing what he wants to use me for, just trying to help the team out the best I can. Special teams, I know that is my way of making this team so I definitely emphasized special teams all offseason.”

As far as a role on the defense, even if he makes the team, Murray likely will not play many defensive snaps. That is not stopping Murray from soaking in all of the information that his coaches, and especially linebackers coach Aaron Curry, are spewing out. From his first day in the building last year, Murray has studied Curry in pursuit of getting better.

“Mostly what he emphasizes,” Murray said. “So like when I first got here I didn’t know anything. Now, the day one materials that he uses as his coaching, how he has been coaching this whole time, I am picking up on all of his fundamentals. … I am picking up all of his things, what he likes to see, what he doesn’t like to see so that is a good help for me.”

Due to his time with the team a season ago, Murray should have an advantage over a guy like Jacoby Windmon in regard to making the roster but both face long shot odds of actually making it. Regardless, with a full offseason under his belt, Murray is a strong practice squad candidate.

40 • Tyler Murray, Inside Linebacker, Memphis
6-foot-1, 227 pounds, 25 years old, 2nd Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Tyler Murray to their practice squad on November 15, 2023.

Last SeasonAfter going undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bengals signed Tyler Murray as a priority undrafted free agent. This meant that he received a three-year deal despite being an undrafted free agent. The Bengals released Murray coming out of training camp, but he re-signed to the Bengals practice squad. Cincinnati released Murray from the practice squad on Sept. 5, when the Bengals signed former Steelers tight end Zach Gentry.

After his release from the Bengals practice squad, Murray signed to the Steelers practice squad on Nov. 15 but was released six days later. Following the season, Murray signed a future/reserve contract with the Steelers.

Steelers LB Memphis Tyler Murray

Memphis Tigers linebacker Tyler Murray (5) on game day, Memphis athletics.

Year GP Tackles Sacks FFs INTs DEF Snaps
2023 0 0 0 0 0 0

CollegeA Jacksonville, Florida native, Tyler Murray was a two-star recruit as a cornerback coming out of Baldwin High School. He picked Troy over offers from Elon, Liberty, and Samford.

Murray started his collegiate career at Troy, where he played in 13 games as a freshman at the Spear position, a hybrid safety/linebacker, in 2017 and then became a starter in 2018, when he was named third-team All-Sun Belt after recording 49 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, two sacks, three interceptions, eight passes defended, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

After the 2018 season, Murray hit the transfer portal. Murray ended up at Charlotte and spent three seasons with them, where he was a two-year starter and a team captain in 2021. That season, he recorded 79 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, had one pass defended, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He had to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Murray spent one season with Memphis in 2022 as a graduate transfer. He started all 13 games for the Tigers and recorded 67 tackles, six for a loss, two interceptions, three hurries and two pass breakups.

In total, Murray played in 57 collegiate football games and recorded 259 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

Year School GP Tackles TFLs INTs PBUs
2017 Troy 13 15 1.5 1 1
2018 Troy 13 49 6.5 3 8
2019 Charlotte 0 0 0 0 0
2020 Charlotte 6 49 2 2
2021 Charlotte 12 79 5.5 0 1
2022 Memphis 13 67 6 0 2

Salary cap and future: Tyler Murray is signed with the team through the end of the 2024 season. Murray will cost $795,000 against the team’s cap space if he makes the final roster. Murray’s contract is not guaranteed so if the Steelers decided to cut Murray, they would not face any dead money penalties.

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