Louis Murphy is back in Florida this summer, only this time he doesn’t have to leave come football season.
The former UF receiver signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in late March and went through minicamp with the team earlier this month. The St. Petersburg native has enjoyed his return to the Sunshine State after spending the first five years of his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and New York Giants.
“It feels good to be in Florida again and playing for my hometown team,” Murphy said. “I’ve dreamed about doing this since I was kid. Now I have my family and friends close by, and I’ve never had that before in my career. It’s just a blessing.”
Murphy had more than 500 yards receiving in each of his first two years with the Raiders, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft. But he had just 241 yards and no touchdowns in 11 games played during his third season and was traded to Carolina.
There Murphy played a full year and improved his production, but he signed with the Giants after the season and caught only six passes with them in 2013.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder believes he can get back his old form in Tampa Bay.
“I definitely think I will do well,” Murphy said. “I’ve got a lot of goals still ahead for myself. Obviously I want to win a championship, and I feel like I can do it with this team.”
Murphy appears to be in good shape for a roster spot, and he’s also taken UF rookie Solomon Patton under his wing.
“I’m glad to have him there with me, and I’ve been doing what I can to help him out,” Murphy said. “The roles are kind of reversed for me now. I’m not the young guy anymore.
“But it’s been great working with him and (former Gators) Jeff Demps and Major Wright. Just to see some familiar faces and guys that came from the same school as me.”