An old Russian proverb holds that “if you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
Vaunted Oklahoma football and baseball prospect Kyler Murray would do well to heed that advice, because right now, his efforts to play the NFL and the Oakland A’s against each other for a contract make him about as competent a rabbit hunter as Elmer Fudd.
Although Murray’s father might be the one in the Elmer Fudd role.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report reported that he had spoken with several NFL insiders, and some expressed frustration with the way Kevin Murray is handing things for his Heisman-winning son.
One said bluntly of Kyler: “He’s still going in the first (round), but he needs to get a f—ing agent and do it the right way.”
Another insider told Miller, “This is LaVar Ball all over again.”
Ball, of course, gave NBA general managers headaches with his bombastic demands and predictions while representing his eldest son, Lonzo, leading up to the 2017 draft. The Los Angeles Lakers gave him what he wanted, taking the UCLA product No. 2 overall.
Kevin Murray, who himself played quarterback at Texas A&M quarterback, is similarly “managing the situation” for his son, according to Miller’s report.
Kyler Murray was drafted by Oakland in the MLB entry draft and signed a contract for $4.66 million with the stipulation that he would play one more season of college football before reporting for spring training in 2019.
But with Murray likely to command big money as a projected first-round pick in the NFL, he gets plenty of leverage to use against the A’s.
Furthermore, Murray can’t just play both sports like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders. Quarterback is the most complex position in all of sports, as cerebral as it is athletic, and the massive amount of preparation year-round to be part of today’s modern football offenses precludes a secondary commitment like playing professional baseball.
ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan outlined the scenario by which Murray is trying to squeeze MLB for more money in a restructured contract that would serve as a suitable financial incentive to leave football behind.
“During a meeting in Dallas today, the possibility of Oakland guaranteeing money in addition to Murray’s $4.66 million signing bonus was raised, sources tell ESPN. To do so, Oakland would need to add Murray to its 40-man roster. He still could develop in the minor leagues,” Passan tweeted.
“Still: The notion of a player who has never taken an at-bat in the minor leagues winding up with a big league deal shows how special a situation Kyler Murray’s is. It’s not just the Oakland A’s invested in him. It’s Major League Baseball, too. Murray in MLB would be a coup.”
Murray’s interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” at the Super Bowl was evasive the way a fly is evasive when you try to swat it with your hand.
Kyler Murray dodged Dan Patrick’s questions about the combine and his pro day with some very awkward silence pic.twitter.com/10plRiVtIM
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) February 1, 2019
Eventually, Murray will have to make a decision. But the longer he drags his feet on the choice, the more leverage he loses as NFL teams decide it’s simply too much of a risk to spend a first-round draft pick on a guy who might not play a down of NFL football.
What’s more, it’s not as though Murray is the kind of physical specimen who traditionally succeeds as a quarterback. He’s short at just under 5 feet 10, and his unorthodox three-quarter delivery means he plays shorter than he is.
Still, Murray is an incredible athlete and has drawn comparisons to NFL star Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, who’s just an inch taller.
Spring training starts soon. We’ll see if Murray is in an A’s uniform when it does.
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