Kyler Murray is like every 21-year-old trying to decide their future. Except Murray has the whole sports world watching and wondering if he’ll play professional football or baseball.
Judging by Murray’s comments Thursday on Super Bowl LIII Radio Row, he wishes he didn’t have to choose.
“This whole decision thing, I wish I could play both,” Murray told Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live in Atlanta. “… I know it’s highly, highly, highly unlikely, but it’s not an easy decision. Been playing both my whole life since I was 4 years old. So, I’ve got to make a decision, obviously, but I’m not saying it here.”
Murray, who was drafted No. 9 overall by the A’s last year, planned to play one season of football at Oklahoma, then start his baseball career. But the game-breaking ability that won him the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player also upped the buzz on his prospects as an NFL quarterback. One mock draft even pegged the Raiders as taking Murray No. 4 overall.
Florio asked Murray if he’ll just wait to see where he’s drafted in the NFL before choosing before the two sports. Murray responded with a dose of reality.
“Well, see, I don’t think it’s that easy,” he said. “The A’s organization has been nothing but phenomenal to me through this whole process. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else, because the way they’ve handled this whole situation has been crazy, you know, you almost wouldn’t believe it. …
“I feel like everyone would do this if, you know, let’s see where I get drafted and then if I go later, then yeah. … I don’t know if that’s possible.”
Murray is right to doubt that. He has been invited to A’s spring training, which starts in two weeks, and the team will want him there and focused solely on baseball. The NFL Scouting Combine starts two weeks after that, and it’d be hard to fathom the A’s allowing their top draftee to leave camp to run 40-yard dashes and bench-press 225 pounds, risking possible injury.
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Murray knows this, and perhaps the most telling moment in his interview with Florio came when asked if he’d already made his decision and just didn’t want to announce it. Murray paused for such a lengthy period of time that Florio had to interject and reassure the Heisman winner that it was OK if he just couldn’t announce his decision at that moment.
That decision is coming “really soon,” according to Murray, who admitted it’s more difficult because of the success he had at Oklahoma. Maybe he can ask that Heisman Trophy he said sits next to him each night on his nightstand.