Oakland A’s first-round draft pick Kyler Murray has just won the highest honor in college football, the Heisman Trophy, after an outstanding season as the Oklahoma Sooners’ star quarterback.
Part of Murray’s deal signed with the A’s included the freedom for Murray to play one more season of football at Oklahoma, then report to 2019 Spring Training with Oakland after the college football season is over. This was an incredibly rare and generous act by the A’s considering the deal also included a $4.66 million signing bonus.
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Murray, a junior Human Relations major at the University of Oklahoma, transferred from Texas A&M after his freshman year. This season, the 21-year old quarterback led the Sooners to a 12-1 record overall. They are set to face Alabama in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.
In the 2018 football season, Murray recorded 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns. This incredible season led to Murray’s entrance into the elite Heisman club. He beat out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the trophy.
Murray is also an outfielder for the Sooners baseball team. Last season he obtained a .296 batting average, stole 10 bases, hit 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in his 51 games played. The A’s liked what they saw and drafted him in the first round. In his introductory press conference, he was compared to the self-proclaimed “Greatest of All Time”, Rickey Henderson.
The big question now that Murray has won the Heisman is if he will honor his contract with Oakland, or seek a career in the NFL. According to his agent, Scott Boras, Murray will report to 2019 Spring Training and be an A.
"“I’d like to do both [football and baseball] if possible,” Murray said. “But I don’t know how possible that is.”"
Murray has connections to both baseball and football. His uncle, Calvin Murray, played for the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs. Calvin now works for Kyler’s agent, Scott Boras. Murray’s dad, Kevin, was a quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983 to 1986, but went undrafted in the NFL due to an ankle injury.
Kyler’s uncle Calvin, a MLB alumni himself, wants his nephew to play for the A’s.
"“You look at the finances of the issue — the baseball money is guaranteed,” said Calvin Murray. “Baseball guys don’t deal with CTE.”"
Calvin brings up a great point on a huge issue in sports today. Football players face the harsh reality of getting CTE due to repeated concussions and constant hits to the head. In baseball, this issue is not as prevalent. In the MLB, Kyler could make more money and protect his long-term health, both physically and mentally.
We won’t know for sure what Murray decides to do with his athletic career until after he and his fellow Sooners face Alabama in the Orange Bowl. He can either honor his contract with the A’s and show up to 2019 Spring Training, enter the NFL Draft, or even do both. He has spent his college career playing both — maybe he could make it work professionally?
Only ‘Kyler Knows’ the direction of where his career is headed.