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Dunn's advice to Murray: 'Don't chase money'

Former Major League slugger can relate to Heisman winner's decision
January 31, 2019

OAKLAND -- Adam Dunn is one of the few people who can understand the apparent tug-of-war being waged inside Kyler Murray's mind.Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Oklahoma, who's widely projected to be a first-round selection in the NFL Draft to be held April 25-27.

OAKLAND -- Adam Dunn is one of the few people who can understand the apparent tug-of-war being waged inside Kyler Murray's mind.
Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Oklahoma, who's widely projected to be a first-round selection in the NFL Draft to be held April 25-27. The quarterback already has cemented his status as a first-rounder in baseball, having been chosen ninth overall by the A's in the 2018 MLB Draft.
A's management fully expects Murray, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, to choose the outfield over the backfield by reporting to camp with other position players on Feb. 15. Though Murray has publicly said nothing that would indicate a preference for either sport, numerous NFL experts have speculated that he'll opt for football.
Dunn, who was a touted quarterback prospect, faced a similar decision after the Reds selected him in the second round of the 1998 MLB Draft out of New Caney (Texas) High School. Cincinnati agreed to let him enroll at the University of Texas and play football there that fall. Though Dunn idled himself from games by redshirting, he experienced enough to realize that he couldn't juggle two sports. He settled on baseball and proceeded to hit 462 home runs in 14 seasons (2001-14) for the Reds and four other teams.

Dunn's primary piece of advice to Murray was simple.
"Don't chase the money," Dunn said. "Eventually, if you are what people think you are, all that will come. But it's hard to put a price tag on happiness."
Dunn, 39, recalled in a telephone interview on Thursday from his Houston home that committing himself to one sport was the most difficult decision he has made in his entire life.
"I would hate to have to go back and make that decision again," Dunn said. "I don't really know which way I would do it if I had to do it all over."
However, Dunn has remained at peace with his choice, emphasizing that he hasn't second-guessed himself. "I thank the Lord every day that I don't regret the decision," he said.

Dunn, a two-time All-Star, explained that his ardor for both sports and years of devoting himself to each were factors that made his choice a tough one.
"You get so used to doing the same things," Dunn said. " 'OK, it's football season;' you play football. And, 'it's baseball season;' you play baseball. You've done that your entire life and you love both of them so much."
Thus, Dunn's thought process in choosing one sport was excruciating but not complicated. "Honestly, it was just having baseball as an option," he said.
Dunn acknowledged the stakes are higher for Murray than they were for him.
"I look at the level I had to make [the decision] at; I can't imagine the level that he's having to make it at," Dunn said. "There's two ways to look at it. For him, either option is a great option, obviously. He has options that people would give their left arm for. Even a bad decision is a pretty good one.
"On the flip side of it, I can only imagine how hard a decision it is. ... I have never met the kid, but I would really, truly think it's not about the money. It comes down to, 'I love both sports.' "
The sequence of events that conceivably could ease Murray's decision will not work in his favor. The NFL scouting combine, where Murray's football skills would be closely evaluated, opens on Feb. 26 -- after Spring Training begins. The A's have not indicated that they would excuse Murray from camp to participate in the combine.
"There's not a decision being made for him, which is even tougher," Dunn said. "There's nothing that's gone bad. If they were going to say, 'OK, well, you're going to be a fourth-round pick in the NFL,' that probably makes my decision a little easier. But he's probably going to be a first-rounder. I bet he has 50 million people telling him what to do."

Dunn, a two-time All-Star, explained that his ardor for both sports and years of devoting himself to each were factors that made his choice a tough one.
"You get so used to doing the same things," Dunn said. " 'OK, it's football season;' you play football. And, 'it's baseball season;' you play baseball. You've done that your entire life and you love both of them so much."
Thus, Dunn's thought process in choosing one sport was excruciating but not complicated. "Honestly, it was just having baseball as an option," he said.
Dunn acknowledged the stakes are higher for Murray than they were for him.
"I look at the level I had to make [the decision] at; I can't imagine the level that he's having to make it at," Dunn said. "There's two ways to look at it. For him, either option is a great option, obviously. He has options that people would give their left arm for. Even a bad decision is a pretty good one.
"On the flip side of it, I can only imagine how hard a decision it is. ... I have never met the kid, but I would really, truly think it's not about the money. It comes down to, 'I love both sports.' "
The sequence of events that conceivably could ease Murray's decision will not work in his favor. The NFL scouting combine, where Murray's football skills would be closely evaluated, opens on Feb. 26 -- after Spring Training begins. The A's have not indicated that they would excuse Murray from camp to participate in the combine.
"There's not a decision being made for him, which is even tougher," Dunn said. "There's nothing that's gone bad. If they were going to say, 'OK, well, you're going to be a fourth-round pick in the NFL,' that probably makes my decision a little easier. But he's probably going to be a first-rounder. I bet he has 50 million people telling him what to do."

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.