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Bucs extend Louis Murphy 3 years

TAMPA, Fla. -- Wide receiver Louis Murphy has agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Friday morning.

Murphy, 27, had been scheduled to become a free agent after the season. But the Bucs wanted to keep Murphy around after he emerged as the third receiver behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

Murphy, who is finishing the season on injured reserve, had 31 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns.

"You want to reward players that take the long way and earn it the right way," coach Lovie Smith said. "We like him. When he was healthy and ready to go as our third receiver, he did some positive things as our third receiver. He's somebody that we want to keep building with."

Murphy, who grew up in nearby St. Petersburg, Florida, said he wanted to stay with the Bucs instead of testing free agency. Despite the team's 2-13 record, Murphy said he believes the Bucs are heading in the right direction and he wants to be with them for the turnaround.

"I believe in this team," Murphy said. "I believe in Coach Lovie. I believe in the organization. I believe in all the guys that are in that locker room regardless of what the record says. I believe that we're going to be contenders in the future, and I want to be a part of it. I want to see it turn around."