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Kyler Murray sets example for multi-sport athletes

Story by Jordan Spurgeon
Kyler Murray has officially chosen football over baseball.

The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, Kyler Murray has made his decision.

He tweeted “Moving forward, I am fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.” on Monday Feb. 11, 2019. He’s pursuing the sport he’s more passionate about, which helps make this the right decision.

Being a multi-sport athlete is one of the most beneficial things any athlete can do to improve their overall athletic performance. According to USA today, dual-sport athletes go on to be more successful in college because of lower injury rates that stem from overuse, less burnout from pressure, cross-sports skills, and a larger web of social skills from having more teammates.

In high school, the goal for many athletes should be to play multiple sports. Those that are lucky enough to advance to the collegiate level can then decide whether or not to play a single sport based on passion and skill.

Oklahoma’s Steele Walker (1) congratulates teammate Kyler Murray (7) on his fourth-inning two-run home run against Texas Christian at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 6, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

Kyler Murray has a chance to become the first athlete to be drafted in the first round in two sports, the NFL and the MLB. He was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft and has now officially declared for the NFL draft and said he’s committed to playing football. He’s ranked as the top quarterback by many draft insiders.

Most athletes have to make this decision much earlier on in their career. Unfortunately, dual-sport athletes in college are nearly non-existent and in high school the numbers are decreasing. This trend is alarming as it limits future overall-athletic ability.

By choosing football over baseball, Kyler Murray has made the right decision for his immediate financial future. His decision requires him to repay $1.5 million of his signing bonus to the Oakland Athletics, but if he becomes a first round pick in the NFL, he’ll have a contract offer worth at least $9 million. Lamar Jackson signed for $9.1 million as the last pick of the first round last year.

It would be different if he wasn’t a quarterback, but in today’s NFL, quarterbacks make the most money. Kirk Cousins signed the first fully-guaranteed contract last offseason with the Minnesota Vikings, which will have a positive ripple effect for future quarterbacks. Average quarterbacks make more money than average MLB players. So even if he’s not great in the NFL he’ll make more money than if he were to be average in baseball.

The former head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes Urban Meyer has said he only recruited multi-sport athletes to his college football squads. Many other college coaches have a similar viewpoint, so the thought of single-sport specialization being more beneficial for recruiting, is false when it comes to major Division 1 schools.

Kyler Murray is the outlier, being able to perform at an elite level in both baseball and football. He has a chance to make history in April at the NFL Draft. This opportunity wouldn’t be possible for him if he had decided to only play one sport earlier on in his playing career.

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