March 12, 2015 / 11:34 PM / 4 years ago

Rushing leader Murray leaves Cowboys for rival Eagles

(Reuters) - DeMarco Murray, the National Football League’s leading rusher, is leaving the Dallas Cowboys to join the rival Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a five-year contract on Thursday, the team said.

DeMarco Murray (29) runs past Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) in the fourth quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Terms of the contract for the free-agent running back were not disclosed by the team, though various media reports earlier said the deal was worth $42 million.

Murray, 27, was named the NFL’s offensive player of the year in 2014 after rushing for a Cowboys franchise-record 1,845 yards and catching 57 passes for another 416 yards.

He also tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with 13 and set the NFL record by opening the season with eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

Murray replaces running back LeSean McCoy, third in the NFL in rushing with 1,319 yards, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso earlier this week.

Before signing Murray, the Eagles had appeared close to a deal with free-agent running back Frank Gore before he reversed course and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Earlier on Thursday, the Eagles agreed to terms on a three-year contract with running back Ryan Mathews.

A first-round draft pick by San Diego in 2010, Mathews gained 4,061 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in five seasons. He also caught 146 passes for 1,110 yards and one touchdown.

Mathews, 27, twice eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.

The Eagles have been busy since free agency started, trading quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford, signing cornerback Walter Thurmond and re-signing quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue

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