Murray announces his choice: Football
Kyler Murray has made up his mind. He wants to play in the NFL rather than pursue a Major League Baseball career.
Murray made his decision known on social media Monday. Given his size (he’s listed at 5-foot-11), pro football success is far from guaranteed, but he said he will ready himself for the NFL draft rather than fulfill the minor league contract he signed with the Oakland Athletics.
“Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback,” Murray said. “Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100 percent of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships.”
The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma, Murray was the ninth selection of the 2018 MLB draft and received a $4.66 million signing bonus. Although the A’s were hoping he would choose baseball, they grew increasingly pessimistic the longer he was away from the game.
“Things have certainly changed since the draft,” Billy Beane, Oakland’s executive vice president of baseball operations, told the Associated Press on Monday. “The situation is fluid right now [based] on a historic college football season that the young man had.”
Although NFL talent evaluators gravitate toward taller quarterbacks, the success of stars such as Russell Wilson (who stands 5-11) and Baker Mayfield (who’s generously listed at 6-1) have caused some scouts to reconsider. Murray will continue to prepare for the NFL combine, which begins Feb. 26, rather than head to spring training. (Oakland’s position players report Friday.)
Murray’s accountants will be busy sorting things out now that he has announced his decision. He already received $1.5 million of his signing bonus and was to receive an additional $3.16 million March 1. Oakland is due a refund of $1.29 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and Murray will forfeit the $3.16 million payment. Oakland will also retain Murray’s MLB rights going forward.
Murray’s NFL draft status remains unclear, but he is projected by many to be selected in the first round. Mayfield, the No. 1 pick last year, can expect to earn just under $33 million over his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, including a signing bonus of more than $22 million.
Murray probably will receive eight figures of guaranteed money if he is taken in the first round, so following his heart also makes financial sense, at least in the short term.