- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2019

In case the Washington Redskins were interested in drafting a quarterback this spring, the biggest name in the class just answered the most pressing question about his career plans.

Two-sport star and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray has chosen to “fully commit” to pursuing an NFL career rather than play Major League Baseball.

Murray announced his decision Monday on Twitter, writing, “Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.”

Murray starred as a quarterback for the University of Oklahoma in 2018, but also was a top-10 MLB draft pick by the Oakland Athletics as an outfielder. He was due to report to the Athletics’ spring training this week.

Previously, Murray declared for the NFL Draft while still keeping his options open, and reports indicated he would attend the NFL scouting combine Feb. 26-March 4.

“Football has been my love and passion my entire life,” Murray wrote. “I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100 percent of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships.”

While Murray’s post doesn’t mention baseball or the Athletics by name, the tone makes clear he is forgoing his baseball career.

Murray will return most of the $1.5 million signing bonus the Athletics gave him and forfeit another $3.16 million that was due to him March 1, ESPN baseball reporter Jeff Passan said.

Many analysts project Murray to be a first-round draft pick, which would make him the first athlete in history to be a first-round selection in both the NFL and MLB.

The Washington Redskins, who pick at No. 15 overall, are among several teams with a bleak quarterback situation who could consider taking Murray. Alex Smith is considered a longshot to be ready for Week 1 of the new season after suffering a spiral fracture in his leg in November.

But team president Bruce Allen told NBC Sports Washington last week at the Super Bowl that the team didn’t feel it had to draft a quarterback in round one, as second-stringer Colt McCoy is much further along in his recovery from his own leg injury.

“Right now we have one quarterback under contract that’s going to be able to start in March for sure. And that’s Colt McCoy,” Allen said.

With the distraction of baseball out of the way, Murray’s draft stock is likely to rise. Reports have said NFL general managers consider him a late-first round pick, but mock drafts have him going higher.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. slotted Murray No. 13 overall to the Miami Dolphins in his first mock draft of the year. The mock draft website Walter Football also currently has Murray going 13th to Miami.

However, reports from the Miami Herald say the Dolphins will tank next season with an eye on the 2020 draft and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Some of CBS Sports’ draft analysts mocked Murray to the Cincinnati Bengals. The quarterback-needy New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos — all selecting inside the top 10 — are also linked to Murray here and there.

During Super Bowl week, Murray was interviewed on the Dan Patrick Show and drew criticism for answering questions about deciding between two sports with cringeworthy silences.

But on Monday, those questions were cleared up. The main concern he will face now — like several other quarterback prospects recently — will be whether he is tall enough to be an NFL quarterback. Either way, Murray’s announcement has changed the trajectory of this football offseason.

Matthew Paras contributed to this story.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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