- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
The Oakland Athletics are sending a group of top executives to meet with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray on Sunday in the hopes of persuading him to pursue a professional baseball career as he decides between honoring his contract with the team or playing quarterback in the NFL, sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.
The summit comes a day before the deadline to declare for the NFL draft, which the A’s believe Murray plans to do. While a decision on baseball vs. football is not expected Sunday, according to sources, Murray’s football prospects seemingly have grown strong enough to compel Oakland to re-recruit the 21-year-old.
The A’s gave Murray a $4.66 million signing bonus last year after choosing him with the ninth pick in the draft despite the center fielder’s limited baseball experience. Part of the deal was allowing Murray to play one more season of college football — in which he put up historic numbers for the University of Oklahoma and won the Heisman.
It did not entirely allay fears over Murray’s size. At 5-foot-9, he would be the shortest quarterback in the NFL since Doug Flutie, at 5-10. With multiple teams reportedly putting first-round grades on Murray, though, and believing they can scheme around his deficiencies in size by taking advantage of his superior athleticism, the prospect of Murray leaving baseball behind is real.
The meeting, which was first reported by USA Today, will include, according to sources, A’s president Billy Beane, general manager David Forst and others.