Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Kyle Murphy was ready to seize his opportunity to start a year ago when injuries knocked out both of the team’s starting tackles.
However, Murphy’s chance to make a long-term impression was short-lived after he suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 3.
A lengthy rehab process ensued for Murphy, a sixth-round draft choice out of Stanford in 2016. He was not cleared for full participation in offseason workouts until the final week of organized team activities and minicamps.
Murphy enters his third season with Green Bay in a more tenuous spot. David Bakhtiari is slated to be the starter at left tackle while right tackle Bryan Bulaga’s status remains unclear while he recovers from a torn ACL.
According to the team’s official website, Murphy is expected to compete with Jason Spriggs and Byron Bell for the starting right tackle job if Bulaga is not ready to start the season.
Murphy could have established himself as a front-runner for the job if not for the foot injury in 2017, but he prefers not to engage in hypotheticals.
“I don’t like to play the what-ifs,” Murphy told the team’s website. “What would have happened if I didn’t get hurt? How much better would I have been or how much longer would it have lasted?
“But I like to think I’m still coming out of this injury better than I was going into it. I’m still shaking off some rust on the field, but I feel like I’m getting stronger, more flexible, smarter, as far as football IQ stuff.”
Murphy appeared in three games as a rookie, playing a total of only eight snaps. He started the 2017 season opener at right tackle in place of an injured Bulaga and slid over to left tackle for the next two games, protecting Aaron Rodgers‘ blind side when Bakhtiari injured his hamstring.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Murphy worked at both tackle spots during minicamp and is upbeat that he will head into training camp fully healthy.
“I think I proved I can play in this league on a big stage,” said Murphy. “Doing that under the lights with Aaron back there the whole time will help ease your mind and make you that much more confident going forward.
“I have all the confidence in the world in myself to go out there and perform and be better than I was last time.”