Chargers LB Kenneth Murray Eager to Use Setback as Motivation in His Return to the Field

Chargers LB Kenneth Murray has made his return to the field following offseason ankle surgery.

COSTA MESA – Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray dealt with a nagging ankle injury for the greater part of last season after stepping on a pylon in the end zone during warm ups.

While it may have seemed to be something minor initially, Murray’s consistency was put in doubt as he played through the lingering injury. After the Chargers’ 2021 campaign came to a close, Murray had an exit physical that included an MRI done on his ankle.

He received the advice from doctors to rest his ankle for eight to 10 weeks in hope of avoiding surgery. The thought process was it would heal by demobilizing his ankle.

However, when Murray returned to the Chargers’ facility in mid-to-late March to begin ramping up his activity, he noticed that his ankle felt no different than it did two and a half months ago.

That led to surgery being had in early April following second opinions. Murray has spent the last five months rehabbing from the procedure.

He’s been a non-participant for a little over three weeks of training camp, but the former first-round pick made his return to the field this week, completing individual drills during Monday and Tuesday’s practice.

“We’re going to work him into individual [period] this week. I know he’s excited to do that,” head coach Brandon Staley said of Murray. “Just making sure that we take a look at all the metrics, and then trust our eyes and what we see, and talking to him.”

Murray said Tuesday that the road back to recovery was a daunting task, spending time in the rehab room by himself while his teammates get work in on the field. But Murray said he’s using his setback as motivation in how he approaches the season ahead.

“I truly believe that adversity comes and it either makes you or breaks you,” Murray said. “My life and who I am, I choose to use that to forge me into what I become today. Like I said before, I thrive on going out there and showing that every day. That’s just how I feel about this season and how I am approaching that this season is just every day, just responding and showing who the hell I am. Period.”

The Chargers will ramp up Murray day-by-day. As the Week 1 season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders sits just under three weeks away, Murray believes he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season.

“I truly do believe that everything that I’ve been through up to this point has been preparing me for this moment,” Murray said. “That’s why I would say before I come out here with a grateful heart, trying to just take advantage of every opportunity. I attack every day as that. I control what I can control. I don’t worry about things that I can’t control. That really has just been the mindset.”

Murray played in just 11 games last year, mainly being used as an inside linebacker, but did receive limited opportunities to rush the passer of the edge.

The Chargers are expected to roll out Drue Tranquill and Kyle Van Noy as the primary linebackers for the Chargers’ nickel defense. When implementing their base personnel, Murray is expected to solidify the third linebacker role.

“We’re excited to get Kenneth back. I’ve been seeing him in the meetings going through all of the checks and going through the adjustments there, and now we get a chance to get him on the field,” defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said. “It really adds some more depth at that linebacker position.”

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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