Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray, also the No. 9 overall Draft pick by the A's last June, is expected to declare for the NFL Draft before Sunday's deadline for collegiate underclassmen to do so, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Murray -- who is ranked the A's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline -- had previously expressed hope that he might be able to pursue a dual career in MLB and the NFL. But a source with knowledge of Murray's situation told the Chronicle earlier on Wednesday that he'll have to pick one sport, because "the demands of learning and playing quarterback in the NFL would preclude him from playing professional baseball."
Also per the Chronicle's source, NFL teams wouldn't want Murray playing baseball and football at the same time "because of the steeper learning curve for a rookie quarterback."
Even if Murray does declare for the NFL Draft, it doesn't rule out the possibility that he ultimately chooses professional baseball. But the Chronicle reports that a source said the 21-year-old is leaning toward football.
Murray, who guided the Oklahoma Sooners to a College Football Playoff appearance last month, is expected to be a high selection in April's NFL Draft, perhaps even a first-round pick. And with the annual NFL Combine taking place on Feb. 26, when Spring Training will be underway, he would almost certainly need to be in Indianapolis demonstrating his football potential if he is serious about playing in the NFL. A source told the Chronicle that the A's might consider allowing Murray to leave Spring Training and go to the Combine, something that would require approval from MLB.
The A's signed Murray for $4.66 million, with part of the agreement being that Murray would join Oakland for Spring Training after playing one last college football season at Oklahoma. Both Murray and agent Scott Boras reiterated at several points throughout the year that Murray would honor his MLB commitment, but his stellar season on the gridiron has made it much less of a certainty now.
If Murray decides not to play baseball, he will have to pay back his signing bonus. In addition, the A's would not receive a compensation pick in this June's MLB Draft despite losing Murray to the NFL. Oakland would, however, retain his professional baseball rights should he sign with an NFL team but want to play professional baseball at a later date.