Kyler Murray commits to pursuing NFL career and turns back on baseball

Quarterback Kyler Murray walks off the field after a game for Oklahoma Sooners
Kyler Murray has ended months of speculation about whether he would choose the NFL or MLB

Two-sport star prospect Kyler Murray says he has chosen to pursue a career in American football over baseball.

Murray, 21, was drafted ninth overall by Major League Baseball side Oakland Athletics in June last year.

He stayed at Oklahoma University to play a full season at quarterback and won the Heisman Trophy for America's best college football player.

"I am firmly and fully committing my life to becoming an NFL quarterback," he posted on Twitter on Monday.

Murray, an outfielder in baseball, declared for the 2019 NFL draft last month and could now be the first person to be picked in the first round of the NFL and MLB drafts.

He was due to report to spring training with the Athletics on Friday, with club officials still unsure of Murray's intentions before his statement on Monday.

"Football has been my love and passion my entire life," said Murray.

"I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100% of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships."

Murray was given a $4.66m (£3.62m) signing-on bonus by the A's. He will reportedly repay $1.29m (£1m) of the $1.5m (£1.17m) he received last year and forfeit the remaining $3.16m (£2.46m).

Athletics general manager David Forst said his club do not regret picking Murray in the draft.

"We've known all along that this was a possibility, we've been in constant contact and we knew he had a great option in the NFL," said Forst.

"When we knew definitively is not the story here - we've known from the tone of the conversations that he could choose the NFL."

Murray recorded 4,361 passing yards and 1,001 rushing yards with 54 touchdowns in 14 games in his final season with the Oklahoma Sooners last year.

Those numbers eclipsed former Sooners team-mate and fellow Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, who was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL draft.

Murray is set to take part in the NFL combine, where college prospects perform physical and mental tests in front of NFL coaches and scouts, on 26 February before the first round of the draft on 25 April.

"I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming NFL workouts and interviews," added the Texan.

"I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft."

The Athletics will not receive a compensation draft pick for losing Murray to the NFL but will retain his rights if he chooses to return to baseball in the future.

"We'll focus on what we need to do to make sure that if he comes back to baseball at some point then he'll come back with the A's," said Forst.

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