SAN FRANCISCO: Broncos practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was sent home from Super Bowl week on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) after he was detained by police during a prostitution sting operation.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak released a statement on Tuesday evening confirming Murphy had been sent back to Denver.
“Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him,” Kubiak said. “Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”
Television station KPIX 5 in San Jose, California, reported Murphy was questioned by Santa Clara County deputies and later released when police determined he had not solicited a prostitute.
Murphy’s brother and a suspected prostitute received citations in the police operation in a motel parking lot.
Broncos players were off Tuesday as they prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown with the Carolina Panthers for the National Football League crown.
Broncos practice squad players traveled with the team and are scheduled to serve as scout-team players during three practices starting Wednesday.
Murphy has never played in an NFL game.
Keeping players focused amid the hype and hoopla of Super Bowl week was a concern of both head coaches.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera also gave his team Tuesday off, with players due back at their hotel in San Jose, south of San Francisco, by midnight.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” Rivera said. “I hope everybody’s back on time.”
Rivera even had Eugene Robinson, now a commentator on Panthers’ radio broadcasts, talk to the team before they left Carolina and relate the cautionary tale of his arrest on the eve of Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999 in Miami for soliciting a prostitute.
Robinson, then an Atlanta safety, played in that Super Bowl, but gave up an 80-yard touchdown catch in the Falcons’ loss to Denver.