Kyler Murray burst through the locker room door on Thursday morning, walked to the podium for an impromptu media session and said there had been no ‘shortcuts’ to success in his football career , regardless of the weird endorsements on his new contract.
Then the Arizona Cardinals the quarterback stopped and smiled for a moment: “No pun intended.”
In a rare display of public emotion, the 5-foot-10 Murray vehemently defended his study habits days after the NFL Network reported there was a one-time addendum to his $230.5 million contract. dollars over five years that requires at least four hours of “independent study” during match weeks each season.
It also states that the quarterback cannot be distracted by “watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet.”
Murray, like all quarterbacks who have ever played at a high level, is used to criticism of his play. That’s part of the territory. He’ll take the heat for a bad throw, bad call, bad body language, or even his average genetics in the height department.
But his work ethic?
“To think that I can accomplish everything I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game, and not have that passion and not take that seriously, that’s disrespectful and almost a joke,” he said. said Murray. “I’m honestly flattered that you all think that at my size, I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it seriously.”
This therefore raises the question: why was the addendum necessary in the contract?
Murray didn’t really have a clear answer.
“If you want to talk about football, we’ll talk about football,” Murray said.
The addendum was unexpected for several reasons, including that coach Kliff Kingsbury and his teammates never expressed public displeasure with Murray’s preparation for games. The quarterback has certainly had a few bad games over his three-year pro career, but the knowledge of the playbook has never been in question.
Even Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surprised when he heard about Murray’s study term.
“I think I just raised my eyebrows like that,” Rodgers said, demonstrating. “That was the reaction. Yeah, I was happy to see him get paid. One thing I saw was that I think his average salary per year was about equal to the salary cap of the Oakland Athletics, so I think he can certainly smile knowing he made the right call.
Murray and the team have endured a lot of criticism and jokes over the past few days. Fans and pundits have wondered why the Cardinals would spend nearly a quarter billion dollars on a quarterback if there were questions about his study habits.
Murray said there was nothing wrong with the way he prepared. His teammates seemed to agree, with tight end Zach Ertz stating “Kyler knows the playbook better than anyone on this team.”
“There are many different ways to watch a movie,” Murray said. “There are many different ways to deal with the game, there are many different ways for quarterbacks to learn the game and break it down. Of course, I watch the movie by myself. It is a given. It doesn’t even need to be said.
“But I appreciate and love the process of watching the game with my guys, the quarterbacks, my coaches.”
Oklahoma’s 2019 first draft pick, Murray took the time Thursday to list his many accomplishments on the football field over the past decade, from a 43-0 record in high school, to a Heisman Trophy in Oklahoma at its Pro Bowl Selections in the NFL.
He said none of this would have happened if he didn’t have a good work ethic.
“I’m not 6-7, 230, and I’m not throwing the ball 85 yards,” Murray said. “I’m already behind the 8 ball and I can’t afford to take any shortcuts.”