Kyler Murray has the ultimate insurance policy if football doesn’t pan out.
He could always return to baseball, either with the A’s (who made him the draft’s ninth overall pick in 2018) or some other team.
That unwritten escape clause looms for any NFL team considering drafting him. If he struggles early, or gets a concussion, or simply stops enjoying football, will he bolt?
Murray, sensitive to that perception, tried to allay those fears Friday when he stood before dozens of football writer at the NFL Scouting Combine.
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“It’s a final decision,” Murray said. “I’m here. I’m ready to go. I was born a football player. I love this game. There was no turning back when I made this decision. I’m 100 percent in.”
Murray will still chase his dream of being the No. 1 overall pick on his own terms. He declined to run or throw here this week, saying his inner circle believed it was best to wait for Oklahoma’s Pro Day.
Will Murray still weigh over 200 pounds then, or did he bulk up for the Combine’s measurements? He played at 195 pounds in college, which would make him the slightest starting quarterback in the league.
Murray, who alternated between irritated and affable during his Friday news conference, was a bit bemused about all the attention his weigh-in generated. He’s officially 5-foot-10 1/8, which Murray believes should put some of the questions about his size to rest.
“I’ve never been the biggest guy on the field,” Murray said. “I’m always the smallest guy on the field. I’ve said it multiple times, I feel like I’m the most impactful guy on the field. I’m the best player on the field at all times. That’s just the confidence that I have in myself and that my teammates have in me. I’ve always had to play at this height.
“I don’t know,” he added. “Everyone’s trying to make it out to be something, but I just have to go out there and play the game that I love.”
Murray’s goal is to be the first pick in the draft, and talked with excitement about possibly playing for first-year Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who is a huge fan and an innovative football mind.
But if he slips to 13 — some believe that Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, not Murray, will be the first quarterback taken — the Dolphins will have done their due diligence.
Murray said he met with “a couple of [Dolphins] coaches” this week, but that’s no surprise. They would consider taking a quarterback in Round 1 if it’s a player they love.
Is Murray that guy? An NFL executive familiar with the team’s thinking believes that Chris Grier is “open-minded” about Murray despite his size.
And assuming he was being honest Friday, Murray is fully committed to football, even if the injury risk is greater than in baseball.
“You can’t play this game scared at the end of the day,” Murray said, when asked if that was a consideration.
So if he loves football and didn’t consider the health risks, the only reason Murray would have picked baseball is the money. A reporter pointed out how Bryce Harper just signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies, a deal that would never happen in football.
Murray, however, bristled at the premise.
“How much money is that a year?” he shot back.
“OK. Everybody makes a big deal about it because it says $300 million. There’s quarterbacks making more money than him a year.”
The great ones, yes.
Aaron Rodgers is the highest-paid quarterback in league history, earning $33.5 million a year.
But Murray is years away from making anything close to that. Baker Mayfield, Murray’s former teammate at OU and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, signed a four-year, $32.7 million rookie contract that cannot be renegotiated for another two years.