John Hoover

John E. Hoover: Kyler Murray one step closer to playing pro football

John E. Hoover: Kyler Murray one step closer to playing pro football
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to pass, during the second half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Kyler Murray appears headed toward a career in professional football.

The 84th Heisman Trophy winner and former Oklahoma quarterback is on the NFL’s official list of invitees to the annual scouting combine, another sign that he’ll continue to put pro baseball on hold.

Being invited to the combine, however, doesn’t mean a prospect definitely will participate. Murray was mum on the topic last week during interviews from Atlanta and has maintained bargaining leverage by playing coy every time he’s been asked which sport he prefers.

Murray was one of eight Sooners invited to Indianapolis this year, joining running back Rodney Anderson, wide receiver Marquise Brown, offensive tackle Bobby Evans, offensive tackle Cody Ford, offensive guard Ben Powers, offensive lineman Dru Samia and placekicker Austin Seibert.

Murray was the ninth overall pick in the first round of last year’s Major League Baseball Draft and signed a contract with the Oakland A’s that would pay him a $4.67 million signing bonus and allow him to play the 2018 football season for the Sooners. Murray, however, hasn’t received the entire bonus, and some reports say if he goes to the NFL, he would have to pay back what he’s already received.

It seems likelier, though, that Murray and his representation would continue to negotiate for the possibility of playing baseball, either part time or in the future.

Baseball spring training begins on Feb. 15. The combine begins Feb. 26.

OU is one of seven schools with eight combine invitees. Alabama and Clemson have 11 each, and Ohio State has 10, while Georgia, Ole Miss and Washington each have nine.

Oklahoma State had two players invited: defensive end/linebacker Jordan Brailford and running back Justice Hill.

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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. 000

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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