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DeMarco Murray loves Cowboys, but understands business ahead

PHOENIX – DeMarco Murray purposely deflected questions about his future during the Dallas Cowboys' season. His focus was on 2014 and only 2014.

Now that it is 2015, Murray has started to think about his future, which might lead to him wearing a different uniform as free agency looms in March.

Last week owner and general manager Jerry Jones said it would be a challenge to keep Murray and wide receiver Dez Bryant. It would not be because they can’t sign both Pro Bowlers but because they don’t want to allocate the cap dollars to a running back, even one coming off a season as strong as Murray’s.

Speaking from the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix where he prepares for his second Pro Bowl, Murray said he was aware of Jones’ comments and even understanding.

“Those guys know how I am as a person and I understand that business aspect,” Murray told ESPN.com. “I don’t get butt-hurt. I don’t get my feelings hurt. I believe in myself and what I’m capable of doing and whoever it is I’m playing for next year, I know I’m going to make a huge impact.”

The day after the Cowboys’ season ended, Murray would not answer whether he wanted to continue to play for the Cowboys. He answered differently from the Pro Bowl.

“Obviously I love playing with these guys, love playing for Jerry, love playing for Jason [Garrett],” Murray said. “He’s a helluva coach, a helluva guy. The things I’ve learned from him and [Jason Witten] in the four years I’ve been here, I’m very gracious and appreciative of it. If the chips fall that way, I’m excited and would love to come back. I don’t know what’s going to happen, so we’ll see.”

In addition to the financial considerations, Murray has other considerations that will factor into any decision he makes.

“I’ve thought about a lot of things I haven’t told anyone yet, not even my agent or not even my family,” Murray said. “You can sit back and look at the pros and cons of many different situations and you think of yourself and think of your family in these situations.”

Murray set a franchise-record with 1,845 yards on 392 carries, which also led the NFL, to go with 13 rushing touchdowns. He also caught a career-high 57 passes for 416 yards. For the first time in his career, Murray played in every game, including the final four games with a surgically-repaired left hand.

The last time the Cowboys forked over large dollars to a running back came in 2008 when they signed Marion Barber to a seven-year, $45 million deal with $16 million guaranteed. Barber was cut after the 2010 season.

The team and Murray’s agent had cursory talks during the course of the season. The talks figure to pick up in the offseason. Typically the Cowboys have used the NFL scouting combine to speak with agents for prospective free agents.

“I told my agent, ‘Hey, get your notes together. You talk to who you need to talk to and when the time is right ...’ but for the next couple of weeks I just want to get away from everything,” Murray said. “I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want any phone calls saying, ‘Hey, there’s this or this.’”

What if the call is about a deal from the Cowboys?

“Obviously if that happens,” Murray smiled.

Murray got engaged earlier in the week. He is with his fiancée and daughter at the Pro Bowl. He has called Dallas home for the last four years.

“When it’s all said and done, no matter where I end up, 10 years, 20 years from now I definitely will consider Dallas being my home,” Murray said, “and I’ll probably end up raising my family there.”