He spent most of the cocktail reception swiveling his hips and looking more fit than a dozen fiddles.
So the first question asked of DeMarco Murray was had he heard from the United States Football League about ending his premature retirement and becoming the upstart league’s poster guy?
“No, no, I’m good,” said the former Bishop Gorman, Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys star with a humble chuckle before being inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame on Friday at The Dollar Loan Center.
Murray retired in 2017 after seven short but mostly spectacular NFL seasons. He was the league’s 2014 Offensive Player of the Year in addition to being named first-team All-Pro and earning three Pro Bowl berths.
Despite not having scored a touchdown in five seasons, he still looks more than capable of doing it at age 34.
“I had my share of fun out there on the field, and now it’s just a blessing to be able to give back and teach these kids not only on the field but off the field,” Murray said about having become running backs coach at his college alma mater.
Before joining former Las Vegas Stars pitcher and youth sports advocate Larry Brown, National Finals Rodeo pioneer Shawn Davis, former UNLV and major league player Ryan Ludwick, two-time paralympian Amy Purdy and the sons of late UNLV basketball great Glen Gondrezick on center stage, Murray spoke about playing for three of football’s most iconic teams in high school, college and the pros.
“For some reason, I’ve always ended up in the right place at the right time with the right teammates and the right (coaching) staff,” he said. “The only thing I can equate that to is being blessed, being fortunate.”
But when all the stars line up, it helps to have a burst of speed and hips that swivel.
Murray started his rookie season as the Cowboys’ third-string running back before moving up the depth chart for a midseason game against the St. Louis Rams. When it was his turn to be in the right place at the right time, all he did was rush for 253 yards on 25 carries and break Emmitt Smith’s Cowboys single-game rushing record.
But good luck getting him to talk about it.
“How good my offensive line was,” the reluctant star said when asked what he remembered most about that memorable game.
What an amazing night at @TheDLCHenderson for the 2022 SNSHF Induction Ceremony. Here is the Class of 2022: Larry Brown, Shawn Davis, DeMarco Murray, @AmyPurdyGurl, Travis Gondrezick (representing his father, Glen) and Ryan Ludwick. pic.twitter.com/rJKbWbRIDS
— S. NV Hall of Fame (@SNSHF) June 18, 2022
Around the horn
— Further proof that when it comes to major sports stories, there’s often a Las Vegas angle: Gary Payton II (aka: “Young Glove”), who scored six points with three rebounds and two assists in Golden State’s NBA Finals-clinching victory over Boston on Thursday, played at Grant Sawyer Middle School and Spring Valley High School.
Now the undrafted and well-traveled (five NBA teams and a stint in the developmental G League) son of NBA defensive great Gary “The Glove” Payton has an NBA championship ring.
GARY PAYTON II 👏
2016: Signs w/ Rockets
2016: Waived after 6 preseason gms
2019: G-League Champion/DPOY
2021: Warriors (signed/waived/re-signed)
2022: NBA Champion pic.twitter.com/cZ3Lq2XeF2
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 17, 2022
— And even more proof: June 11 was Pride Day at Oracle Park in San Francisco, and Amy Schneider, a transgender 40-time champion on “Jeopardy!” and Oakland, California, native, was selected to throw out the first pitch before that day’s Giants-Dodgers game.
Unfortunately, Fox chose not to show it. Instead, it spliced in NASCAR driver and Las Vegas native Kurt Busch’s opening toss from the previous night and promoted last weekend’s stock car race that aired on the network.
Fox denied editing the footage to keep Schneider off the air.
Jeopardy! megachamp Amy Schneider throws out the ceremonial first pitch on Pride Day at Oracle Park. pic.twitter.com/m7ihPTEsze
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 11, 2022
"Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch." pic.twitter.com/DzolTVrLey
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 12, 2022
— And why not make it 3-for-3: Oklahoma defeated Texas A&M 13-8 in the opening game of the College World Series on Friday. The Aggies are coached by Jim Schlossnagle, who was UNLV’s coach in 2003 when the Rebels went 47-17 and advanced to the Tempe Regional.
After 18 years at TCU, Jim Schlossnagle wanted a new challenge. So he took the head coaching job at Texas A&M and has @AggieBaseball in the College World Series in his first year at College Station.#MCWS pic.twitter.com/j8vcXAIyGj
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) June 17, 2022
Larry Brown, on the good-natured razzing he received upon being selected for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame despite have accumulated only modest statistics as a Stars pitcher:
“People tend to forget that I gave up three of the five longest home runs ever hit at Cashman Field.”
Happy Front Office Friday to our incredible Director of Business Development and former 1983 Las Vegas Stars pitcher Larry Brown! Tonight he will be inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022
— Las Vegas Aviators (@AviatorsLV) June 17, 2022