Kyler Murray spoke Saturday about finally having a sense of relief.
His decision had been made. He would play professional football. He would be a quarterback in the National Football League — a difficult choice over Major League Baseball, where he had already been a first-round draft pick and had signed a multimillion-dollar contract had become a promising prospect.
Baseball would be great, to be sure. But the call of football, it seemed, was stronger.
“I think it was something I’ve known for a while,” he said.
And the burden off his shoulders was immense.
“I would wake up and walk out of my room and all I’d hear on the TV is my name talking about baseball or football,” Murray said during a brief press conference on Saturday at halftime of the Oklahoma-Texas basketball game in Norman. “But once I kind of put it out there, it was, ‘Where’s he gonna go now?’ It wasn’t a question of if I’m gonna play football or baseball, it was just now I can focus on getting ready, getting right for what’s coming up, and that’s playing in the NFL.”
Murray answered a handful of questions about how he arrived at his decision and how it felt to have it behind him and what hurdles he’d encountered as a 5-foot-10 Heisman-winning quarterback and whether he would be a full participant and next week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
His decision, ultimately, wasn’t all that hard once he showed everyone he really can be a big-time QB.
“Just my love for the game of football,” he said. “I put a lot at risk coming back to play football. A lot. But at end of day, I was hoping to put myself in this position this past season and kind of went and did that. So here we are.”
He said the night he was drafted No. 9 overall by the Oakland A’s was “a great day in my life.
“But I’ve been a football player my whole life. Like I said, going into this season, I wanted to put myself in the best position possible. I didn’t know how the NFL felt about me before the season, because I hadn’t played. But coming into the season, just be me, play my game, and obviously when you win, good things happen. And a lot of good things happened this year.”
Breaking the news to the A’s wasn’t easy.
“It’s obviously hard,” he said. “(Oakland was) the best possible organization for me, just because they were great through football season, kind of leaving me alone and letting me do my own thing, and at the same time letting me know how much I meant to them and that type of stuff. So telling them, it was tough.”
Murray said he doesn’t know yet and whether he’ll participate in all the quarterback drills and/or run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.
“I’ll go talk to my people,” he said. “We’re obviously discussing that. As of now, we haven’t come to a decision.”
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.