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Williams Finds Comfort in Honoring Murdock

Posted Aug 5, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Damian Williams will always remember O.J. Murdock’s smile.

Williams returned to Titans training camp Sunday after spending Saturday in Tampa, Fla., at funeral services for Titans receiver O.J. Murdock, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot last Monday. Williams said a slideshow at the start of the memorial service was “pretty emotional.”

Williams added that speaking to attendees on behalf of himself and Titans receivers and listening to others’ reflections about Murdock generated smiles and provided closure.

“It was a wonderful service,” Williams said. “The beginning of the service was tough for a lot of us, tough for me particularly, but once guys started getting up and telling their stories … O.J. was a very funny individual, so people got up and started telling stories. We laughed a lot yesterday and that kind of helped soothe some of the pain.”

Williams said Murdock’s sense of humor influenced his teammates.

“When you’re talking about O.J., the first thing that comes to mind is his smile,” Williams said. “That was something that every single person, if you asked everyone in here, would probably say the same thing, and then also how cool of a person he was.”

Williams and Jared Cook were excused from Saturday’s practice to attend the funeral. Murdock lived at Williams’ house when he was in Nashville rehabbing an Achilles injury this offseason and was going to continue that this season as he recovered. He had been roommates with Jared Cook when they were at South Carolina.

Murdock, an undrafted rookie in 2011, injured his Achilles early in training camp last season. Williams said Murdock went through treatment and rehab sessions and attended meetings he was not required to attend this offseason. Murdock did not report to camp at the deadline on July 27 and told Titans personnel that it was because of a personal reason.

Williams placed the nameplate from Murdock’s locker inside his own and is honoring Murdock in additional ways.

“In the room that he was staying in in my house, I put a little panel up in loving memory of O.J.,” Williams said, “and hopefully, we’ll get the chance to do something special for him when we have a game day.”

Williams said it’s a situation the Titans wish never happened, but one from which lessons can be drawn.

“I encouraged the guys after that and even today to make sure you call the people that you’re closest to and hold onto them tight, love up on them and never miss an opportunity to tell the ones that you love that you love them,” Williams said.

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