Kyler Murray, the former ninth-overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics, spent the beginning of 2019 touring news sets and radio shows after an incredible end to his college football season. No matter where he went, the same questions arose. Would the two-sport athlete decide to focus solely on a career in professional baseball or make the transition to the National Football League?
After weeks of speculating what the reigning Heisman Trophy winner would do, the wait is finally over. In a post to his Twitter account on Monday afternoon, former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray announced that he is “firmly and fully committing” his life to pursue a full-time NFL career.
“Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback. 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% of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming nfl workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft.”
— Kyler Murray, via Twitter
It’s not really a shocker that Murray chose to ride the wave of success he found under head coach Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. After taking over for the 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, Murray became the first player in college football history to average more than 300 yards passing and 60 yards rushing per game in a single season by torching Big 12 defenses all year long. He would beat out Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins to win the Heisman Trophy and cap an incredible collegiate career.
While Murray doesn’t explicitly say that he’s giving up baseball for good, it appears like his days roaming the outfield are over.
As a baseball prospect, Murray blended a big league arm and elite speed to warrant the A’s drafting him so high last year. He received a $4.66 million signing bonus from the club, but he’ll have to return that money if he doesn’t report to spring training on February 15 and commit to the A’s. Likely a first-round draft pick as an NFL quarterback, Murray stands to make a lot more money than that as a football player between his rookie contract’s signing bonus and endorsement opportunities that far outweigh what he’d receive in Major League Baseball.
Should the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder from Allen, Texas become a first-round pick of April’s 2019 NFL Draft, he’ll become the first player in professional American sports history selected in the first round of two different leagues. With the way his popularity is surging and at the height of this decision, all eyes will be on Murray when the NFL Scouting Combine begins on February 26.