The Oakland Athletics own Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray‘s baseball rights after selecting him in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft, but they expect him to declare for the NFL draft this weekend, according to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle.
Simply declaring for the NFL draft doesn’t necessarily mean Murray will decide not to play for the Athletics, although one source does tell Slusser that Murray is reportedly leaning towards football. If Murray does opt to play football, he’d be required to pay back the A’s more than $4.5MM. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) NFL decision-makers believe Murray is “magic” and predict he’d come off the board on Day 1 or 2 of the draft, so he’d be able to make up that lost money in short order.
Murray and his agent Scott Boras have never officially ruled out the NFL despite persistently denying interest in deviating from an MLB-based plan. The Athletics would retain Murray’s baseball rights, but playing both baseball and football is not an option for Murray, per Slusser. The time commitments afforded to modern day professional sports simply make a dual-sport athlete nearly impossible.
Murray will likely need to make a decision by the end of February, as Slusser reports. He’ll be expected to attend Spring Training at that point, while the impending NFL Draft Combine would also require his attention, meaning the Heisman winner’s hand will likely be forced.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.