Mur­ray an­nounces his choice: Foot­ball

The Washington Post - - SPORTS - BY CINDY BOREN [email protected]­post.com

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.

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