OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics last season, announced Monday that he is “fully committing” to becoming a quarterback in the National Football League.
The Heisman Trophy winner announced his decision on Twitter on Monday, the same morning A’s pitchers and catchers reported for spring training in Arizona.
“Moving forward, I am firmly and fulling committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback” Murray said. “Football has been my love and passion my entire life. 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.”
Last month, A’s team officials huddled with Murray to convince him to remain committed to baseball, but he declared for the upcoming NFL Draft in April.
Murray was drafted 9th overall by the A’s in last year’s draft and signed a deal worth close to $5 million guaranteed with Oakland that permitted him to play football this past season for the Oklahoma Sooners.
He made the most of his senior season, leading the Sooners to a berth in the College Football Playoffs. He threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for an additional 109 and another touchdown and led a rally that fell just short as Alabama defeated Oklahoma, 45-34, in their semifinal matchup.
During the regular season, Murray won the Heisman Trophy after he passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for 1,001 yards and another 12 scores. He posted the second-best passer efficiency rating in FBS history.
As an outfielder with the Sooners baseball team in 2018, Murray hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and 10 stolen bases with 189 at-bats.
“Things have certainly changed since the draft,” Billy Beane, Oakland’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said before the announcement. “The situation is fluid right now and based on a historic college football season that the young man had.”
Murray’s baseball deal called for him to receive $1.5 million within 30 days of the deal’s approval last summer by Major League Baseball and $3.16 million on March 1.
Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders played both football and baseball, but Sanders was a running back and Sanders a cornerback.
“Quarterback is a very demanding position, as is being a Major League baseball player,” Beane said. “To say somebody could or couldn’t, I’m not here to say that. Something like that is something that is part of our private discussions.”
“He’s one of those rare athletes, who I think any sport that he played, he’d probably excel at,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.