IRVING, Texas -- DeMarco Murray's progression from college star to NFL notable was slowed by a hamstring injury that landed him on the non-football injury list when he reported to training camp. He got into the final two preseason games, but was still the third-stringer when the season began, backing up starter Felix Jones and third-down back Tashard Choice.
A high ankle sprain left Jones in a walking boot last week, giving Murray the chance to show what he could do. Choice got the start Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, but after Murray ran 91 yards for a touchdown on his first carry, the rotation changed for the rest of the day.
And maybe longer.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett said he and his staff haven't discussed their lineup for Sunday night's game in Philadelphia. While he wouldn't commit to Murray being the starter, he said Murray "certainly has earned the opportunity to get the ball a lot, no question about that.
"I think he ran hard," Garrett said. "He certainly made some good cuts. His vision was good and he was able to stick his foot in the ground and run through some tackles. The other thing with a guy who hasn't carried the ball that much to carry it 25 times in a game for that many yards, to have the endurance that he had throughout the ball game. ... It's just a sign of hopefully things to come. That's not to suggest that he's going to have these kinds of days. But the first opportunity he got to get the ball like he got it in college, he took advantage of it. Now he's just got to keep taking the next step week to week."
The Cowboys went into the game averaging 84.8 yards per game, 29th in the NFL. They came out averaging 119.7, up to 13th in the league.
Most of that was due to Murray. Playing in only his sixth NFL game, the third-round pick from Oklahoma finished with 253 yards on 25 carries to set the single-game Cowboys rushing record. He passed Tony Dorsett's best day on his 22nd carry, then a few handoffs later outran the best day by Emmitt Smith, the leading rusher in NFL history.
Murray's performance in Dallas' 34-7 victory drew a series of tweets -- and a phone call -- from Smith, plus so many more calls and texts that more than 24 hours later Murray hadn't even checked them all.
"It's crazy," he said Monday afternoon, stepping out of a running backs meeting and into a series of media obligations.
And what about the starting job?
"To be honest, I donât know. Whatever it is, whatever coach Garrett and coach (Skip) Peete want me to do, Iâm going to do," Murray said Monday on NFL Network. "Whether itâs the second-, third- or first-string guy, Iâm going to do it with a smile on my face and continue to help this team win regardless."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.