ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills signed running back Latavius Murray to a one-year contract on Monday, adding a veteran and productive presence to their relatively young and thin backfield.
The 33-year-old Murray, a Syracuse native, has nine seasons of NFL experience and combined for 760 yards and six touchdowns split between Denver and New Orleans last year. He is the league’s active leader in scoring at least four touchdowns rushing in eight consecutive seasons.
“Obviously it’s been a team that’s been contending for the past few years,” Murray said during a video conference with reporters. “I think we have an opportunity to compete for a championship, so that’s first and foremost. And then, growing up just a few hours from here, I think it’s just a really cool to be able to come back to the state of New York and play football especially at this stage of my career.”
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Murray is a downhill runner who can add a physical dimension to the Bills’ rushing attack. He joins a running back position that was down to three players — James Cook, Nyheim Hines and free-agent addition Damien Harris — and lost returning starter Devin Singletary to free agency in March.
“I just think we’re all different running backs within that room,” Murray said. “You got James, you got Nyheim, you’ve got Damien, really all different, different in size even. I just think there are some versatility that I do have even with being bigger. But what stands out first and foremost is that my size and my speed at that size. And so I think this offense has been great at finding ways to put players in positions, players that do things that they do well.”
The signing falls in line with general manager Brandon Beane’s philosophy of adding veteran leadership to each position group. Beane made a similar move in 2019 by signing running back Frank Gore to a one-year contract.
“For me, it’s going into my 11th season, a lot of experience, been in rooms with multiple backs, younger backs,” Murray said. “So I just think that the fit was right, to be able to come in and again, provide a different element in the run game and then also try to help the guys around me in that room, just based off my experience. So I look forward to learning from them. They’re younger, keep me young and I also look forward to sharing knowledge and sharing my experiences to make them better, which essentially helps the team.”
Murray grew up outside of Syracuse, and spent his college career playing at Central Florida before being selected by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.
The Bills represent his sixth NFL team, including two separate stints with New Orleans, rounded out by Minnesota and Baltimore. Murray’s 55 touchdowns rushing rank fourth and his 6,252 yards rushing rank sixth among active players. With 222 receptions for 1,501 yards and two touchdowns, Murray also provides a pass-catching dimension to Buffalo’s Josh Allen-led offense.
Murray was concerned his career might be over after opening last season on the Saints practice squad and appearing in just one game. That evaporated after he was signed in October by the Broncos, where he gained 703 yards rushing and scored five TDs in 12 games, including seven starts.
“I’m able to appreciate that game and these accomplishments a little more, just knowing the journey,” Murray said in December after a 130-yard rushing, one-TD outing in a 24-15 win against Arizona.
The 130 yards rushing was the fourth-best total of his career. It came 11-plus months after Murray gained 150 yards rushing with the Ravens in their 2021 season finale against Pittsburgh.
News 4 Buffalo digital sports reporter Jonah Bronstein contributed to this report.