AP NEWS

Kyler Murray not fazed by Bryce Harper’s mega-contract

March 2, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS Kyler Murray, like most people, saw Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and had a reaction to it.

The deal, however, didn’t appear to give the Heisman-winning quarterback any second thoughts about pursuing football instead of professional baseball.

“How much money is that per year?” Murray said. “Everybody makes a big deal about it because it says $300 million. There’s quarterbacks making more money than him a year.”

With a herd of reporters around him Friday at the NFL scouting combine, Murray said his decision to play in the NFL is “final.”

Last month, the 21-year-old told the Oakland Athletics, who drafted him ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft, he would pursue the NFL instead.

Seen as the top quarterback in this year’s draft, Murray is a polarizing subject. His supporters are enamored with his explosiveness and athleticism. Others wonder if his 5-foot-10 frame makes him too small to be a viable NFL quarterback, or what his flirtation with MLB means about his commitment to football.

But Murray repeatedly emphasized his desire to play football acknowledging a “weight” has been lifted off his shoulders now that baseball is out of the picture.

Murray said that before, he couldn’t watch television without hearing his name and his decision discussed. Now, he added, he can focus solely on football.

“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. You know, there’s no turning back. When I made this decision, I’m 100 percent in.”

In choosing the NFL, Murray said he had to “follow my heart.” The quarterback reflected on the lessons that baseball taught him, primarily of which were patience and how to deal with adversity.

Football, though, was always the “love of my life,” Murray said.

“Everything that football takes out of you, it’s all worth it,” Murray said.

The Washington Redskins have been among the teams to have met with Murray at the combine. But there are other clubs beyond Washington who have expressed interest or are at least doing their due diligence on the quarterback.

During his media availability, Murray answered questions about perspective destinations that will only create more fanfare for certain fan bases.

He discussed the possibility of playing with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley in New York “Me in that system with those guys can be very dangerous,” Murray said. He confirmed he will meet with the Arizona Cardinals, who have the No.1 pick and whose general manager, Steve Keim, failed to strongly back quarterback Josh Rosen in an interview earlier this week.

Still, Murray likely has work to do before NFL teams reach their final conclusion about him. For one, Murray will not throw or run at the combine, saying he’ll do so at his pro day in Oklahoma. Teams use those drills to further evaluate prospects.

For all the concern about his size, Murray measured at 5-foot-10 ⅛ and 207 pounds on Thursday slightly shorter but also heavier than Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. That’s larger than what some expected, though it could still be a deterrent.

Addressing his height, Murray said he’s used to being the smallest player on the field but also the most impactful.

“I’m the best player on the field at all times,” Murray said. “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. ... 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.”

With baseball behind him, he can do just that.