Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray wants to play football and baseball: 'I could do both'

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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It's no secret that Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has skills in another sport.

It's also not a secret that he would like to someday showcase them.

He reiterated his desire to play baseball, in addition to football, in a couple of interviews this week.

Murray, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL draft, was also the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft.

When asked by Pat McAfee earlier this week if he would like to play both sports, Murray responded:

“I would love to," Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show. "I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn't like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”

Murray explained what led him to play professional football, saying the choice to not play for the Oakland Athletics, the team that picked him in the MLB draft, was not an easy one.

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"I've been doing both my whole life," he said. "It was definitely the hardest decision I've ever had to make just because given the age, my commitment and giving them (the A's) my word telling them that I was going to come play if they allowed me to play one more season of football, just because I had been waiting, obviously Baker (Mayfield) was the quarterback and waiting for my turn.

"I wasn't going to go play baseball if I didn't get my chance to do my thing on the football field. Once I got my chance, I knew what I was going to do my last season at OU (Oklahoma), did it, and then put myself in the position to be the No. 1 pick, which made things harder, but you can never have too many options."

Murray hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and stole 10 bases in 2018 at Oklahoma, playing center field.

But he really shined on the football field his senior season for the Sooners, winning the Heisman Trophy before getting picked by the Cardinals with the first pick in the 2019 draft.

After being asked if we would ever see Murray playing with an MLB team and if he could potentially play both sports, Murray answered:  "I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback."

After McAfee expressed how tough it would be to do both and how busy he would be playing football and baseball, Murray responded: "I think I could. Baseball season would have been started by now, right?"

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Murray, who recently completely his second NFL season, has shown a lot of potential for the Cardinals. After the team went 5-10-1 in his rookie season, he helped the team go 8-8 in 2020 with Arizona narrowly missing out on a playoff spot.

He shared some similar thoughts about baseball with Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show earlier this week.

In that interview, Murray expressed how difficult it was for him to choose to play football and to back out of playing for the Athletics.

"That was the hardest decision I ever had to make," Murray told The Dan Patrick Show. "It honestly took me a long time to figure out what I was going to do."

“It was hard for me to tell (the A’s) I’m not coming to play for them after I already told them I was going to."

Murray said that he even thought to himself  "You should have just played baseball" after his tough first half against the Lions in his first NFL game.

When asked if baseball was still a possibility by Patrick, Murray said: "As far as my ability goes, yeah. I don't know how the contract works and stuff like that, but yeah."

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Oakland Athletics draft pick Kyler Murray waits to hit during batting practice before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

According to Spotrac, Murray's current contract, which is for four years and $35.15 million (with a fifth-year option) would void if he left for MLB. He reportedly cannot play baseball according to his current deal with the Cardinals.

Patrick brought up the possibility of the Athletics trading Murray's rights to the Arizona Diamondbacks, which would make it easier for Murray to pursue playing both sports.

"I'd be all for it," Murray said. "I'd be all for it either way. The A's organization has been great to me, so, I would love to play both."

Part of Murray's interview with Patrick should give Cardinals fans some ease about baseball.

The quarterback said that Deion Sanders, who also played football and baseball, advised him to play baseball, but Murray said "that wasn't where my heart was."

"To the people that say you should have played baseball, I don't think you understand how difficult the game of baseball is," Murray said. "Especially to play at that level, you've got to go through the minor leagues and stuff like that. It's a grind. It's taxing on the body, you play every day. It's not easy. … I trusted my ability and football has always kind of been my love."

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Not the first time

The interviews with Pat McAfee and Dan Patrick aren't the first time Murray has expressed a desire to play both football and baseball.

In November, the Cardinals quarterback said this on CBS Sports' Tiki and Tierney Show:

"I know where I'm supposed to be at," Murray said. "If I would have chose baseball, I think I would be missing the hell out of football a lot more. For me, I wish I could do both." 

In that same interview, Murray told Tiki and Tierney that "I'll definitely have some wiggle room" after his next contract.

Murray told The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman in January of last year that he thinks he could pull off playing both sports.

“I think I could,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s possible. Athletically, I think yeah, I could do it. I’ve been playing both my whole life. I would love to add that to the resume.

“I don’t understand why in sports they try to marginalize it. They try to make you pick one and I get it, but we’ll see. I think it would be fun. Right now, though, I’m just focused on football.”

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