Kyler Murray: Meet the 21-year-old who could be a superstar at two different sports

Kyler Murray has signed a contract with an MLB team but has also declared for the NFL draft
Kyler Murray has signed a contract with an MLB team but has also declared for the NFL draft

They say "choice is a luxury", but aside from the odd referendum, most of the choices we have to make are pretty low key.

However, there are very few people who have the luxury of choosing between professional careers in two different sports.

At just 21, Kyler Murray is one of them.

Kyler Murray has already signed a contract with Oakland Athletics, but according to some reports, they have had clearance to sweeten his deal in order to forgo a career in the NFL
Murray has already signed a contract with Oakland Athletics, but according to some reports, the A's have "sweetened his deal" in order to forgo a career in the NFL

The college athlete could be the first person to be picked in the first round of the Major League Baseball AND National Football League drafts.

Last year, Murray was the ninth overall pick of the MLB draft, signing for the Oakland A's baseball team, (of "Moneyball" fame, amongst other accolades) with a $4.66m (£3.63m) signing-on bonus.

However, Murray, who plays outfielder in baseball, remained at Oklahoma University to play a full season of American football with the 'Sooners' at quarterback - a wise decision? Absolutely.

He won the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best college football player in America.

His season statistics eclipsed those of his former Oklahoma team-mate (and fellow Heisman winner) Baker Mayfield, who was the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft and put in some excellent performances for the Cleveland Browns after winning their starting quarterback spot.

Murray is basically an extreme version of those overachieving people at school who were good at every sport they played.

They're admirable but you are infinitely envious...

So, will Murray have to choose between professional baseball and NFL?

Well, as he has signed a contract with an MLB team, it looks as if he's already made up his mind... or has he?

Kyler Murray: "I have declared for the NFL draft"

On Monday, Murray tweeted he had officially declared himself for the NFL draft.

The head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury, who has the luxury of the first pick in April, will probably be rubbing his hands in glee.

"I'd take him as the first pick of the draft if I could," he said back in October.

"I know he is signed up to play baseball but he is a dominant football player and I would take him."

As precedents go, there are several current NFL quarterbacks who have followed a similar path to Murray.

Brandon Weeden, now back-up quarterback for the Houston Texans, was drafted in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft by the New York Yankees.

He never played a first-class baseball game, went back to college, and became the oldest player ever picked in the first round of the NFL draft, at 28, when the Cleveland Browns took him 22nd overall in 2012.

Patrick Mahomes, who has led the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship game after a stunning season, was a 2014 draft pick by the Detroit Tigers.

The New England Patriots' Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and Seattle Seahawks superstar Russell Wilson were both also drafted in MLB before pursuing football careers, along with Tampa Bay starter Jameis Winston, free agent Colin Kaepernick and Detroit Lions back-up Matt Cassell.

But is he really THAT good at both sports?

Kyler Murray won the highly coveted Heisman Trophy in 2018, awarded to the best collegiate football player in America
Murray won the Heisman Trophy in 2018, awarded to the best collegiate football player in America

Some argue that at 5ft 9in, he is a little on the short side for the so-called big leagues - in the last 30 years, NFL teams selected 69 quarterbacks in the first round - only five were listed at 6ft 1in or shorter

However, one of those five was Baker Mayfield - at 6ft 1in - last year's first pick.

With the average height of NFL quarterbacks being a little over 6ft 3in, Murray is indeed one of the shorter players, but with 4,361 passing yards and 1,001 rushing yards in his last season at Oklahoma, it doesn't look like it's holding him back.

He will need to make up his mind soon.

He is due to report for training for the A's by the 15 February, but the NFL combine (where college football players perform physical and mental tests in front of NFL coaches and scouts), begins February 26.

Could it really come down to money?

Possibly.

NFL quarterbacks are some of the highest paid professional sportspeople in the US and is one of the few NFL positions that can compete with the deals top baseball players receive.

More than half of active NFL quarterbacks have earned at least $10m (£7.8m) in their careers, compared to 28% of outfielders, according to Spotrac, who are experts in sports contracts.

At the other and of the scale, about 11% of NFL quarterbacks have made at least $100m (about £78m), compared to just 5% of outfielders.

And before you ask, the chances of him doing both are pretty slim.

The standard NFL contract prohibits players from participating "in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury".

We will find out what he chooses soon...

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