Following an eventful offseason where Kyler Murray was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s as the ninth overall pick, the dual-sport phenom proved that he was more than just a talented, multi-versed division one quarterback.
The University of Oklahoma quarterback won the 2018 Heisman trophy, the most prestigious award in the college football ranks which pegged Murray as the modern day Bo Jackson. However, that presents a conflict, better yet, an interesting question in regards to Murray’s future. Should he continue his career in baseball or football?
Actually, Murray has already agreed to play professional baseball for the Oakland franchise next season.
Murray said he plans to give up football for baseball after this football season. In an interview before his Orange Bowl matchup against Alabama, he said “nothing has changed,” but didn’t rule out the chance of him playing in the NFL. “It’s never bad to have options,” said Murray.
Those that are deep into the high school football scene boast that Murray is the greatest quarterback in Texas football history. His high school (Allen High School) built a stadium that holds 18,000 people. He never lost while starting under center and won three state titles in the largest and most talented class in Texas, the most decorated football state in America.
How could a declining, dripless sport like baseball sway a 21-year old athletic stud, with a swagger that’s built for the bright lights away from America’s current sweetheart; football?
“If I’m goingKyler Murray on Major League Baseball changing in culture and style.
tobe honest with you, it’s hard to watch baseball on TV. I like players with swag. There are not many of those guys in the league. But Cargo [Carlos Gonzalez], Bryce [Harper], Mookie [Betts], obviously, he’s a dog. There’s a lot of good players. I feel like it’s something we need more. But I definitely feel like the game is getting that way.”
Three things that may have pushed the needle towards baseball for Murray is longevity, salary (he agreed to a $4.6 million signing bonus) and the opportunity to be the newest and most unique icon for future generations.
Contracts in football are not guaranteed and although the dollar signs look nice, you’d have to virtually never get injured and play at a high level throughout your career to really earn how much you’re worth.
His endorsements playing football would be aplenty, but he could be one to help turn baseball around while still getting those endorsements. Once upon a time, baseball was America’s most beloved sport. It still can be, but baseball needs Murray.
Money isn’t everything, though. What’s most important is your health and taking care of your body. Between baseball, football, and basketball, the risk of injury drops significantly when playing baseball. Actually, the average NFL quarterback misses 15.7 percent of each season, approximately 2.5 games. In baseball, other than shoulder injuries, there isn’t much of a risk at all, as the average player in the majors misses five games per season, which is only 3.2 percent of the season.
The average NFL career is 3.3 years, while the NBA is 4.8 years. Baseball players average 6.85 years playing professionally, which is lower than I originally thought, but obviously still more than the other two. The point is longevity. If he lasts and works up the ranks as expected, Murray will be making a lot of money for a long time.
For all that it matters, playing baseball could be how Murray brands himself and separates himself from others. Some argue that the endorsement deals he’d make playing football makes it worth playing, but despite the money and notoriety he may immediately obtain once playing in the NFL, his future looks brighter with baseball.
At 5-foot-10-ish, 195 pounds Murray isn’t the ideal NFL quarterback. He’s diminutive compared to his college counterparts but the NFL is a different animal.
Considering the risk that comes with playing football in addition to the upside that comes with a career in baseball, Murray’s best bet is to report to the diamond. He’ll have the opportunity to play that out for as long as he wants. He can always return to football and fulfill that dream but if he has dreams to pursue both, he should do like past athletes and make football his plan “B”.
Murray is a generational type of talent. We may not see another athlete like him for a couple of decades. His talent in football supersedes his talent in baseball and although people want to see him on Sundays throwing a football, he and his family are making a smart decision by taking the baseball route.
At least for now, Kyler Murray will play baseball for the Oakland Athletics.