Jun 14, 2016; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) and wide receiver Louis Murphy (18) work out during mini camp at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Louis Murphy Returns to Bucs Practice

Buccaneers wide receiver and former Florida Gator Louis Murphy was finally back at his first practice Monday after nearly a year of injury-leave. He was anxious to get back on the field, running routes and catching passes after rehabilitating an ACL injury suffered last season during a game against the Washington Redskins. The ACL tear marked Murphy’s second straight year his season was cut short due to injury.

The long road back

18Murphy admitted that during the long rehab process of a surgically-repaired knee, he did contemplate retirement.  However, Murphy stayed driven and positive throughout and he is now nearing a full return.

Murphy can practice during a 21-day window that won’t count against Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster. Though he is not on the active roster yet, he can be activated at any time during this three-week period.

This is Murphy’s 8th season in the NFL and his 3rd season with Tampa Bay. Formerly, he’s played for the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants. Before last year’s injury, the 6’2” 29-year-old was the Bucs’ third receiver on the depth chart behind Mike Evans and and Vincent Jackson. He had 41 receptions in 17 games as a Buccaneer in 2014 and 2015. As a veteran, Murphy is likely to get some playing time this year especially considering Jackson’s recent sub-par performances.

As a Gator, Murphy was a major part of the Tim Tebow era. Murphy played on both the 2006 and 2008 National Championship teams. In total, he caught 77 passes for 1,245 yards under head coach Urban Meyer.

He’ll hope for some playing time this Sunday, as the Bucs hit the road to play the San Francisco 49ers. Tune in to Fox to catch the kickoff at 4:05 p.m.

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