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Patrick Murray wins kicker competition, calls it 'an honor' to represent Browns

The moment he was released from Tampa Bay, Patrick Murray set his eyes on Cleveland.

A few months later, he stands alone as the team's only kicker after a month-long competition with incumbent Travis Coons.

Coons' release Monday, part of a slew of roster moves to get the roster down to 75 by Tuesday's deadline, served as an end to the battle and a beginning to the second chapter of Murray's NFL kicking career.

"It's an honor to represent this organization and this city. It's an honor to play for the Cleveland Browns and I'm just looking forward to representing them as an organization as well," Murray said. "I really wanted to play for this organization. I love the way this organization represents itself, I love what they stand for, I love what these fans stand for and I'm just so fortunate to be able to play for them."

Murray showed he still had what it takes to play in the NFL after a three-day tryout with the Browns in June. The former Tampa Bay kicker missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL and was out of a job shortly after the Buccaneers selected Florida State's Roberto Aguayo with a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Fully recovered from the injury, Murray handled the challenge with unwavering confidence.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that I could continue to play at this level," said Murray, who was 20-of-24 on field goals as a rookie in 2014. "I was very fortunate to have an amazing support system around me helping me through that process. I guess it makes it that much sweeter to come back."

Take a look at the Cleveland Browns roster as of September 1, 2017.

Opportunities to impress during the three preseason games were scarce, but Murray made the most of them. He was 2-of-2 on extra points and 2-of-2 on field goals, making one from 46 yards at Green Bay and a 35-yarder Friday at Tampa Bay.

The competition, though, was an everyday event, as Coons and Murray would go back and forth on field goal attempts and kickoffs during periods of practice that were rarely seen by fans and media.

"The opportunities I was given, I made the most of them," Murray said. "I don't make the decisions. I just go out there and try to put my best foot forward and that's what I think I did."

When he stepped to the podium after Monday's walkthrough, Murray received a "congratulations" from a media member. He smiled and offered appreciation for it but stressed "it's only the beginning."

Murray's seasoned enough to know the competition never stops, even when you're all by yourself on the roster.

"Getting an opportunity to play in the NFL, there's a sense of satisfaction of reaching your dream, coming back from an injury, having another opportunity to play the game you love and getting to share that with my family," Murray said. "There's nothing better than that."

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