Former NFL Wide Receiver Yo Murphy Now Training Next Generation of Players

Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Yo Murphy knows a little something about overcoming obstacles and making it in in the NFL.

Murphy was born Llewellyn Murphy Jr. but earned the nickname Yo from his younger sister who could not pronounce his first name and thought his bouncing up and down in his crib looked like a yo-yo. The nickname stuck.

His football career has been up and down much like his namesake toy, but it has taken him around the world.

Former NFL Wide Receiver Yo Murphy Now Training Next Generation of Players

In 1993, Murphy went undrafted as a recent graduate of Idaho where he had a spectacular career, catching 68 passes for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns his senior year. He averaged 6.2 yards per attempt and over 100 yards per game. [1]

Despite being undrafted, Yo Murphy knew he wanted to play football. “It’s just about saying I only need one person in this world to say, ‘Yo, you’ve got that opportunity,'” he said. “For that to happen is not too far-fetched.”

So he went first to the CFL’s British Columbia Lions where he participated in his first Grey Cup, and then moved on to the Scottish Claymores of the former World League of American Football which later became NFL Europe.

Murphy did well with the Claymores, and was named MVP of the 1996 World Bowl. In the ten-game season, he had 21 receptions for 298 yards and five touchdowns. He played three seasons with the Claymores while at the same time gaining notice as a part of the Vikings practice squad for a couple of years.

He then hooked up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999, coming off the bench for four receptions and 28 yards since he did not see much playing time. After that, he returned to Minnesota and even tried out the XFL in 2000 as a member of the Las Vegas Outlaws gaining 230 yards and scoring three touchdowns. [1]

Murphy was with the Rams in 2001, playing in their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots and through most of the following season. After a brief time with the Kansas City Chiefs, he went on to play in the CFL one more time.

He played for the Ottawa Renegades and then the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he won his second Grey Cup in his final game.

Murphy’s career spanned 15 years and took him around the world, hardly a traditional path for a professional athlete. [2]

Now Murphy is a partner at the Applied Science and Performance Institute (ASPI) where he helps other athletes achieve their dreams. He has helped NFL stars like Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Alshon Jeffery, Carlos Hyde and several Tampa Bay players.

A player who is the only one in football history to appear in the Super Bowl, the World Bowl and the Grey Cup plus play in regular season games in all those leagues and the XFL certainly knows about persistence and what it takes to make it in the NFL.

A first-round pick in 2015, Nelson Agholor worked with Murphy this offseason. His roster spot was in jeopardy after a couple of mediocre seasons, but his improvement this summer has been remarkable.

“Murphy is amazing,” he says. “He’s a guy who focused on himself. He shows you to worry about your game and not worry about anybody else.”

It’s true. It is this persistence that has made Murphy into the player and now the trainer he is today. “I was never the strongest, the fastest; I was 5’10”, 185,” he said. “It was just about the work. I’d just work and work and work, and I feel like I lived my life like that. I didn’t run a 4.3, but God gave me persistence.” [3]



[3] Author Interview with Yo Murphy, June 22, 2017

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