While their play styles and body types are far different, Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray have a lot more in common than one would think.
Although Murray was a class above Haskins, the two have known each other since they were in high school. Both were elite recruits who had to wait their turn as starters in college. Once they both got their chance to play, Murray and Haskins each turned in a Heisman Trophy caliber season in their lone year as starters in 2018 (Murray won the award, Haskins finished third). Then, both were first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
However, Sunday will mark a new step in their relationship, as it's the first time the two second-year quarterbacks face one another in an actual game at any level.
Asked about facing Murray, Haskins told local media on Wednesday he's looking forward to the matchup and also hopes to exchange jerseys with his longtime friend.
"I’m looking forward to playing him this week," Haskins said. "We’ll hopefully be able to swap jerseys and send them to the facilities. I know we can’t do it after the game."
Jersey swaps have been a very common occurrence after games in recent years. It's a sign of respect between players and just an overall cool gesture. Many players have framed such jerseys and turned them into collector's items as well.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the NFL has been forced to prohibit on-field jersey exchanges following games to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Players are still allowed to exchange jerseys with opponents following games, but not in a traditional fashion. This year, jerseys have to be sent by each respective team to the other via mail, rather than an in-person swap at midfield following the game. That's exactly what Haskins hopes can happen on Sunday.
While Haskins would love to exchange jerseys with Murray, that's by no means what he's focused on entering Washington's Week 2 contest against Arizona. The Cardinals are coming off an impressive victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the reigning Super Bowl runners-up, and Murray was very impressive in that matchup.
Washington knows it'll have its hands full come Sunday, and Haskins is looking forward to the challenge.
"He’s somebody whose game I respect and is a very talented player," Haskins said of Murray. "I look forward to playing him this week and having great competition.”