author: Jacob Nelson | Staff writer
Switching sports not uncommon / Jeremy Davis
Cougars continue to improve regular season record
Lots of kids have dreams of one day playing in the world of professional sports. Some of those kids will realize that dream and eventually play in professional leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, etc., but there is a select few who have the option to do both. Athletes such as Julius Peppers, Antonio Gates, and Tom Brady all had options to play in multiple different sports. Another such athlete, Kyler Murray, is faced with a decision that will dictate the rest of life, and its not the easiest decision to make.
Kyler Murray, both a baseball and football player for the University of Oklahoma Sooners is one who has to make this decision. Kyler played high school football in Bedford, Texas. After winning the Gatorade Football Player of the Year award, Kyler committed to Texas A&M to play both collegiate baseball and basketball. It’s interesting to note that Kyler had actually turned down the MLB draft at that point in his career in order to attend Texas A&M. Murray would later depart from Texas A&M to move to Oklahoma.
In 2017 Oklahoma saw a wondrous season that year under Baker Mayfield and were fortunate enough to have a player as good as Murray backing him up. Although he played very little football during the season, he had a good baseball season. So good, that the Oakland Athletics would draft him 9th overall in the 2018 MLB draft. he would sign with a reported bonus of around four and a half million dollars.
2018 rolls around and Murray finally receives the start for the Oklahoma Sooners at quarterback. Throwing for 37 touchdowns and rushing for 12 more, he was the recipient of the 2018 Heisman trophy. And this is where things have become a little more difficult for Murray. He signed to baseball before his football career had even started and was now presented with the opportunity to play at a high level in both sports.
What would you do if you were given that option? There’re so many factors that go into that decision. You have to think about the average lifespan of a player in either sport.
On one hand you have baseball which may not have an abundance of physical contact but will involve a lot of wear and tear on your knees, especially running on a much harder surface. And football, which as we all know centers around hitting everyone and anyone as hard as humanly possible. I’m sure anyone looking for a career they want to spend most of their adult life in is going to choose baseball. The NFL has a low average career lifespan.
Another factor athlete must also consider is money. In 2018 Satista reported that the average yearly salary for an MLB player was about $4.52 million. And according to Forbes the average NFL salary lies somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million. So even when it comes down to money baseball has the advantage. Although I’m sure many of these athletes love the sports they play and are not in it solely for the money.
While Kyler has already signed a baseball contract there are still many who believe he will choose football. Some people even believe he may forgo professional sports for another year and continue to play for Oklahoma. Gil Brandt, and NFL executive tweeted that he thinks that Kyler may make the unexpected decision to return to the Sooners for one more season. Lots believe that Kyler loves football more than baseball. Chris Mortenson tweeted that “people who know [Kyler] say there is no doubt he loves football more than baseball. However, I think that if that were true, he would undoubtedly enter into the NFL draft this year considering its lack of depth at the QB position, and the fact that Kyler could be a first round pick”
Regardless of what anyone says, the choice is still Kyler’s to make. The fact that he has already signed for millions of dollars to play in the MLB but is still undecided as to what he wants to do shows that there is still a deep love for football within.
One thing that might come to mind is the idea that Kyler should play both sports professionally. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson both managed it and made themselves standout in both. the reality is that the different leagues demand so much more from there players these days. From longer seasons, to higher wages, it is hard for any team in either league to allow the unnecessary risk of having their start athletes play in both sports.
And while even at the highest-level people don’t want their start athletes playing two sports, lots of those people would still agree your life should consist of multiple sports for as long as possible. “Single sport specialization amongst youth today is troubling. Let kids be kids. They’ll become better all-around athletes & have more fun” is what JJ Watt tweeted when he felt the need to express his opinion on the subject.
Statistics] show its not just Watt that feels this way. In the 2017 NFL draft, NSR reported that 30 of the 32 picks in the first round were dual-sport athletes. So, what will Kyler do? To be completely honest I don’t think it should really matter to the fans what happens next. I’m sure whatever decision Kyler makes we are still going to be watching on national television and in the headlines for a long time.