Heis­man win­ner faces Mon­day NFL draft dead­line

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USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Scott Boeck

Kyler Mur­ray, a two-sport star, has a bright fu­ture.

But a tough de­ci­sion also looms. The Ath­let­ics ex­pect their firstround pick and Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back to de­clare for the NFL draft, ac­cord­ing to the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle, leav­ing the door open to ques­tions about his base­ball play­ing ca­reer. Among the un­re­solved is­sues: How would Mur­ray jug­gle re­port­ing for spring train­ing in mid-Fe­bru­ary with prepar­ing for and at­tend­ing the NFL scout­ing com­bine that month?

The Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner was se­lected ninth over­all in the Ma­jor League Base­ball draft by the Ath­let­ics in 2018 and re­ceived a $4.66 mil­lion

sign­ing bonus with the pro­viso he play one more year at Ok­la­homa be­fore re­port­ing to spring train­ing.

Things have changed since he won the Heis­man and led Ok­la­homa to a 12-2 record and a semi­fi­nal spot in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

“I’d take him with the first pick in the draft, if I could,” new Ari­zona Car­di­nals coach Kliff Kings­bury said in a video last year when he was Texas Tech’s coach. “I know he’s signed up to play base­ball, but he’s a dom­i­nant foot­ball player. I would take him with the first pick.” Where things stand:

❚ What is his cur­rent sit­u­a­tion? Con­trac­tu­ally, he is signed with the A’s and is ex­pected to re­port to spring train­ing on Feb. 15 in Mesa, Ari­zona. If he pur­sues the NFL, the scout­ing com­bine be­gins Feb. 26. The Chron­i­cle re­ported that the A’s are con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing him to at­tend the com­bine.

❚ When is the dead­line to de­clare for the NFL draft? Mon­day. Declar­ing doesn’t guar­an­tee he’d choose the NFL over base­ball. The A’s re­tain his pro­fes­sional rights if he tried the NFL first.

❚ Did the A’s ex­pect Mur­ray to pur­sue an NFL ca­reer? They an­tic­i­pated it af­ter he won the Heis­man. But they ex­pect him to come to spring train­ing.

❚ What hap­pens to the $4.66 mil- lion sign­ing bonus he re­ceived from the A’s? If he de­cides to pur­sue an NFL ca­reer, he would have to give it back to Oak­land. The A’s would not get a com­pen­sa­tion pick in the June draft.

❚ Why choose the NFL over Ma­jor League Base­ball? Mur­ray could re­ceive a greater guar­an­teed sum if he’s drafted in the first round of the NFL and also would reach free agency far sooner than in base­ball. It would take Mur­ray six full sea­sons to reach free agency in base­ball af­ter a pre­sumed mi­nor league ap­pren­tice­ship of at least one sea­son.

❚ Could he play both sports? Not likely. It would re­quire a great deal of good­will from both or­ga­ni­za­tions. While Bo Jack­son and Deion San­ders played both sports with some suc­cess, the unique de­mands of the quar­ter­back po­si­tion would make jug­gling both sports un­ten­able, per­haps im­pos­si­ble. The last quar­ter­back to at­tempt si­mul­ta­ne­ous ca­reers was Drew Hen­son, and his ca­reer in both sports was brief.

❚ What is his NFL draft sta­tus? ESPN draft ex­perts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay project Mur­ray to be a first-round pick.

❚ If he chose a base­ball ca­reer, what’s next? Mur­ray would join the A’s at spring train­ing and likely be­gin with the high Class A Stock­ton Ports of the Cal­i­for­nia League.

❚ What hap­pens if he chooses foot­ball? The A’s would still re­tain his rights. Should his NFL ca­reer not pan out, he could re­sume his base­ball ca­reer.


Kyler Mur­ray played quar­ter­back for Ok­la­homa af­ter be­ing drafted by the Ath­let­ics.

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