Mark Murphy was born on July 13, 1955 in Fulton, New York. Murphy attended Clarence High School in Clarence, New York before going to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Murphy had two interceptions for the Raiders in 1976 before he signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1977.
Murphy played with the Redskins for eight seasons and played in 109 games, starting 74 of them at safety. Murphy's best year was in 1983, the year after the Redskins won Super Bowl XVII, as he was named first-team All-Pro and also went to the Pro Bowl. No. 29 had nine interceptions that year and had 27 of them in his career. Murphy also had six fumble recoveries and two sacks in his career. Murphy was also the player representative for the Redskins.