Tennessee Titans receiver O.J. Murdock died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after Tampa police officers found him in a car parked outside his former high school, law enforcement officials said Monday.
Police received reports of a gunshot Monday morning and officers responded to Middleton High School, where they found Murdock about 8:30 am ET. Murdock, 25, was transported to a Tampa-area hospital in critical condition and died at 10:43 am ET, according to a police news release.
“His family is aware of the details and we are working with them to determine the reasons (for the apparent suicide),” officer Irene Thomas told FOXSports.com.
Police found a firearm at the scene.
“This is going to be investigated thoroughly, but right now it looks like a suicide,” Thomas said.
Murdock didn’t report to Titans training camp last week because of what the team termed personal issues. Murdock signed as an undrafted free agent with the Titans a year ago but spent all of last season on injured reserved after suffering an Achilles tendon injury.
“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. . . . Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy.”
Murdock joined the Titans after two seasons at Division II Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Coming out of high school in 2005, Murdock was ranked the 10th-best overall receiver by Rivals.com, according to his biography on the Fort Hays State website.
He began his college career at South Carolina, where he redshirted in 2005 and appeared in four games in 2006 before he was suspended for shoplifting at a department store, according to The State in Columbia, SC Murdock, who was also a talented sprinter, had also been suspended previously for skipping winter weightlifting sessions.
"What we do here is too much for him. He just can’t do it all," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier told the newspaper at the time. "Football’s not for everyone. You’ve got to understand that. It’s a lot involved — going to weightlifting, going to class all the time. It’s not for everybody. So we wish O.J. the best."
Murdock transferred to Pearl River (Miss.) Community College before moving on to Fort Hays State.