Murray was the first pick choice in the 2019 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals

By Eric Todisco
April 26, 2019 03:18 PM
Mark Humphrey/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Kyler Murray joined a coveted group of first round draft picks in Thursday night’s 2019 NFL draft. The 2018 Heisman Trophy Winner was selected by the Arizona Cardinals, achieving a huge feat as he enters the NFL. However, Murray, 21, wasn’t always on the conventional NFL draft road. In fact, he was supposed to be in an entirely different sport.

Growing up, Murray played baseball and football, balancing both sports despite football always being his dream. After high school, the star athlete played football at Texas A&M University, where he quickly went from the backup quarterback to the starting quarterback position. Despite moderate success at the Texas school, Murray transferred to the University of Oklahoma.

While playing for the Oklahoma Sooners football team, Murray decided to also transition back to baseball, playing outfield for their team. Following success as a Sooners baseball player, despite his football dreams, the young athlete signed a contract with Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft, being the ninth overall draft pick with a signing bonus of $4 million.

But after being awarded the 2018 Heisman Trophy that December, he opted to stick to his football roots, rejecting the Oakland Athletics contract, and going all in with the NFL — which assures him a four-year contract and more money than offered by the MLB, according to The New York Times.

Kyler Murray
Jacob Kupferman/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

In the midst Murray’s Heisman Trophy Award celebration, the football star landed himself in some hot water after several homophobic tweets that he had written as a teenager surfaced.

“I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15,” he wrote in December 2018, just hours after he had been named the Heisman winner. “I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe.”

In the tweets, which were dated from 2011 and 2012, the then-teenager mocked others online by using the word “queer” or “queers.” Although many of the tweets have since been deleted, CNN pointed out that some are still online.

On Thursday, Murray became the second consecutive Heisman-winning Sooners quarterback to be selected first overall in the NFL draft. The Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield first in the 2018 draft.

In his response to being selected as the number one draft pick, Murray kept it sweet and simple and said, “It’s surreal.”