Keller Murray stormed the locker room door Thursday morning, climbed onto the podium for an impromptu media session, and declared that there were no “shortcuts” to success during his football career, notwithstanding the odd additions to his new contract.
Then the Arizona Cardinals quarterback stopped and smiled for a moment: “No pun intended.”
In a rare display of public affection, 5-foot-10-inch Murray defended his study habits just days after the NFL Network announced there was a unique addition to his five-year, $230.5 million contract that requires at least four hours of “studying.” The Independent” during game weeks of each season.
She also says the quarterback cannot be distracted by “watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the Internet”.
Murray, like every midfield player who has played at a high level, is used to criticism about his game. This is part of the territory. He’ll get heated up by bad throwing, bad decision, bad body language or even just average genetics in the height department.
But his work ethic?
“I think 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 this seriously, it’s disrespectful and almost a joke,” Murray said. “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.”
So this begs the question: Why was the addition required in the contract?
Murray didn’t really have a clear answer.
“If you want to talk about football, we will talk about football,” Murray said.
The addition was unexpected for a number of reasons, including coach Cliff Kingsbury and his teammates never expressing public dissatisfaction with Murray’s preparation for matches. The quarterback certainly had some bad games during his three-year professional career, but his knowledge of the rules of the game has never been questioned.
Even Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surprised to hear about Murray’s study mandate.
“I think I just raised my eyebrow like that,” Rodgers said, pretending. This was the reaction. Yes, I was glad to see him getting paid. One thing I’ve seen is that I think his average salary per year was on par with the maximum salary for Oakland Athletics, so I think he could definitely smile knowing he made the right decision.”
Murray and his team have endured a lot of criticism and jokes over the past few days. Fans and critics wondered why the Cardinals would spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on the quarterback if there were questions about his study habits.
Murray said there is nothing wrong with the way he prepares. His teammates seemed to agree, with Court ending Zach Erts said that “Kyler knows the rules of the game better than anyone on this team.”
“There are a few different ways to see the movie,” Murray said. “There are so many different ways to tackle the game, there are so many different ways quarterbacks learn the game and break the game. Of course I watch the movie myself. That’s a given. That doesn’t even need to be said.
“But I enjoy and love the process of watching the game with my buddies, my midfielders, and my coach.”
A first pick in the 2019 draft from Oklahoma, Murray took time on Thursday to list his biggest accomplishments on the football field over the past decade, from a 43-0 record in high school, to the Heisman Cup in Oklahoma to the Pro. Pot selections in the NFL.
He said none of that would have happened if he didn’t have a good work ethic.
“I’m not 6-7, 230, and I don’t throw the ball 85 yards,” Murray said. “I’m already behind the eight ball and I can’t take any shortcuts.”