It's the season to be charitable, and the Dallas Cowboys are doing plenty of that these days.
Running back DeMarco Murray, who is promoting his charitable foundation, took a few minutes to talk with Yahoo's Shutdown Corner Thursday. The DeMarco Murray Foundation is aiming to provide low-income Dallas children with the educational opportunities, resources and support they need to succeed, and they are being sponsored by Pizza Hut and its BOOK IT program this week, which happens to be National Young Readers Week.
Murray said he started his foundation after he looked around him in Dallas and saw how needy some kids and some schools were.
"I was talking with my friends and family, and I realized where the poverty line was in Dallas, and there are kids out there who might not have a father figure or a brother figure," Murray said by phone Thursday. "It touched my heart. So anything I could do to help them, I wanted to do.
"We wanted to help kids with school supplies and also help them read. We just want to help them and their family members anyway we can."
That spirit is in the air, apparently. Murray spoke with us before word came out of Dez Bryant walking into a Walmart and buying a bunch of strangers new Playstations.
Murray said that the emotionally charged Bryant is one of the most misunderstood players he has played with. What fans see at home — the perceived blowups on the sidelines and bouts of immaturity — is not the Dez he knows at all.
"We know how much he loves football," Murray said. "We’re not concerned with everyone else. He’s the most caring, giving guy on the team … on any team I have been on. He thinks about his teammates first always, and like everyone else, he just wants to win.
"If [Bryant] isn't concerned about how people see him, then we're not. He just wants to win so badly, and that's all that matters."
Murray feels the same way, and he can't help but be a little frustrated that he's not a greater part of helping the Cowboys do just that. The team has a tenuous first-place lead in the NFC East, part of which was gained while Murray was out with a knee injury. Murray says he's back full force with no limitations with the knee now.
But the numbers suggest the Cowboys are dialing back his workload some. After averaging 21.2 touches in his first five complete games of the season since getting hurt, Murray only has 32 touches in two games since returning. On top of that, he has only 11 fourth-quarter carries all season.
"It’s something I can’t control. I can’t control the play calling," Murray said. "When we’re winning, it’s great. I can only control what I do when I get a chance."
That said, Murray praised Jason Garrett and the coaches up and down and made sure to say he's happy with here he is. He just wants to do more. All the talk from the outside about changing coaches — something Jerry Jones has addressed, to be fair — is something that Murray says he and his teammates pay no mind. He said he "definitely" thinks the staff should remain intact.
"No one [in the locker room] hears the talk," he said. "I definitely don’t. The noise outside, we don’t really read into it. We don’t pay attention. I haven’t heard anything about it."
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