Earlier this week, news broke that Houston offensive lineman Justin Murphy was no longer with the team. Thursday night, Murphy shared his side of the story on Twitter, criticized the program’s approach to “actively tank” the 2019 season and the way Houston coach Dana Holgorsen acted when Murphy went to speak to him.
Murphy said in his Twitter thread, which you can read in full starting here, that he got an MRI on a troublesome right knee after Houston’s game on Sept. 19. He said the MRI found problems with his meniscus and surgically-repaired ACL. Then around the same time that he had his knee looked at, he said Holgorsen had approached seniors on the team and asked if they wanted to redshirt for 2019. Houston started the season 1-3 with losses to Oklahoma, Washington State and Tulane.
That Monday I learned that the Head Coach of the Houston Cougars football team had personally contacted several seniors and asked them if they would redshirt for the 2019 football season, in order to “develop” and come back in 2020.— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) October 11, 2019
All seniors which greatly contributed to the little success we had done up to that point. Two of the seniors would go on to accept this invitation, including the preseason Heisman dark horse QB.— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) October 11, 2019
Houston’s game on Sept. 19 was on Thursday night and was against Tulane. That following Monday, QB D’Eriq King released a statement through the university that he was planning to redshirt the rest of the season and return in 2020 as players can now play in up to four games and still redshirt for a season. In that Tulane game, King had broken Tim Tebow’s record for most consecutive games with both a rushing and a passing touchdown.
Houston wide receiver Keith Corbin also announced that he was redshirting.
‘I don’t have time to talk’
Murphy, a sixth-year senior, transferred to Houston from Texas Tech and UCLA. He would not have been eligible for a redshirt to come back and play in 2020. He said that he made the decision to stop playing football knowing that his knee was struggling and that Houston wasn’t playing to win in 2019, reasoning that if Houston wasn’t committed to success during the season then he shouldn’t push himself on a busted knee.
That decision came after he said he was suspended by the team for Houston’s game against North Texas. Murphy, a starter on Houston’s offensive line, had missed the game, per Holgorsen, because of his knee problems and didn’t travel.
Murphy said he was told not to get on the bus if he wasn’t 100 percent committed to the team.
The next week, Murphy said he wanted to talk to Holgorsen in the coach’s office. That meeting did not last very long apparently.
Holgorsen sat at a desk, eyes glued to a monitor and replied with 13 words. “I don’t have time to talk, I only have time to coach.” and “O.K.” As if I didn’t deserve an eye to eye farewell or a proper handshake.— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) October 11, 2019
As a person that is guaranteed a non-salary compensation of S3.4 million to go along with a $300,000 base salary for the 2019 year, one might think you’d have a better outlook on the players that contribute to your compensation. I mean this is a team sport, right?— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) October 11, 2019
Yahoo Sports has reached out to Houston for comment and also to Murphy for further comment on his Thursday night tweets and has yet to hear back from either.
Holgorsen is in his first year coaching at Houston after coming over from West Virginia. He made the uncommon move from a Power Five school to a Group of Five school on his own volition after the 2018 season following Houston’s decision to fire coach Major Applewhite.
The Cougars beat North Texas to move to 2-3 on the season and were off in Week 6. Houston plays No. 25 Cincinnati on Saturday.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports: