Patrick Murray ready for challenge of kicking in Cleveland after winning job

Patrick Murray knows what it's like to kick in Cleveland. He had to do it two seasons ago when he kicked at FirstEnergy Stadium with the Buccaneers.

"In my opinion, this is the toughest place to kick in the country," he told cleveland.com earlier this month.

He remembers the fans, too.

"Those fans got after me," Murray told cleveland.com earlier this month. "... It was probably the most hostile environment I'd ever played in."

A few weeks later, Murray was talking to the media at the team's practice facility as the Browns new kicker, officially winning the job when the team waived Travis Coons.

"It's an honor to represent this organization and this city," Murray said on Monday. "It's an honor to play for the Cleveland Browns and I'm just really looking forward to continuing and representing this organization well."

Murray, in his third season, is back kicking in the NFL following a lost year in 2014. He tore his ACL against the Browns in Tampa Bay's third preseason game and missed the entire season. He was waived by the Buccaneers in May after they traded up to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round.

Murray said that winning the job is sweeter considering the comeback he had to make.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that I could continue to play at this level," he said. "I was very fortunate to have an amazing support system around me to help me through that process."

Murray said that the rehab from his ACL injury was "a grind every single day," but it taught him a valuable lesson.

"It's to never take an opportunity for granted first and foremost and to really appreciate every kick like it's going to be your last," he said, "because you never know when that opportunity's going to be taken away."

Murray is competing with Travis Coons at kicker and he's drawing from his experiences with Gaelic football to try and win the job.

Now Murray gets to face the challenge every week of kicking next to Lake Erie. He said that he can draw on his experiences playing in the Northeast his entire life. He also kicked at the Meadowlands back in high school during state championship games at Don Bosco Prep. He called the stadium a "wind tunnel."

"I don't try to complicate things," he said. "I go out there with a smile on my face because I'm very blessed to play this game."

As far as the conditions are concerned, Murray said he could spend all week preparing for something and then, when the time comes to kick, things will have changed completely.

"I try not to think about it too much," he said. "It's just going to get in my head. I'd rather go out there, clean slate, see what we've got going on, let's make adjustments."

And, yes, in case you were wondering, Murray knows about former Browns kicker Phil Dawson, who always seemed immune to whatever was going on around him. 

While he hasn't met him, he's well aware of his accomplishments.

"I respect Phil," Murray said. "In my opinion he's a Hall-of-Fame kicker and I hope to live up to the expectation of kickers in Cleveland."

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