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What you need to know about quarterback Kyler Murray’s decision to pursue a career in football

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What you need to know about quarterback Kyler Murray's decision to pursue a career in football

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray announced Monday that he will fully commit to an NFL career and at least put on hold his interest in baseball.

Here’s what you need to know about a potentially historic decision.


Historic? Come on.

Murray would be the first person ever drafted in the first round of both the NFL and Major League Baseball drafts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Oakland Athletics drafted him as an outfielder at No. 9 overall in 2018.

First round in the NFL, though? Isn’t he 5-foot-10?

Actually, he’s 5-foot-9 ⅞ in socks, according to Oklahoma assistant athletic director Mike Houck. There’s no doubt that Murray’s height adds a layer to his evaluation. According to Elias, only five quarterbacks listed at 5-foot-10 or shorter have thrown an NFL pass since 1960. The last was Doug Flutie in 2005.

Again, first round?

Murray won the Heisman Trophy and will enter an NFL that is, at least in some quarters, less reliant on conventional scouting and more attuned to finding a way to utilize natural ability in all shapes and sizes. (See: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who is 5-foot-11.)

Murray is the kind of dual-threat player that NFL teams are more than willing to take on. In his 2018 season at Oklahoma, he posted 4,361 passing yards and 1,001 rushing yards. In their most recent mocks, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each projected him going to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13 overall. McShay wrote that Murray “has an electric arm and some of the best athleticism I’ve seen at the position in years.”

Murray would be the shortest quarterback selected in the first round since the common draft began in 1967. According to Elias, there have only been two quarterbacks listed at shorter than 6-foot-1 drafted in the first round: Michael Vick and Johnny Manziel, both of whom were listed at 6 feet.

Is this a personal or financial decision?

Probably both. In a statement he posted on Twitter, Murray wrote that “football has been my love and passion my entire life.” And though there is a perception that baseball players earn more money than football players because of their guaranteed contracts, highly drafted and/or successful quarterbacks compete well on the financial ledger.

First-round picks in the NFL get guaranteed four-year contracts. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, fellow former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, received $32.7 million guaranteed from the Cleveland Browns. The No. 32 pick, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, was guaranteed $8.1 million. Those slots will increase along with the still-to-be-determined rise in the 2019 salary cap.

How much would he have earned with the A’s?

Oakland guaranteed him $4.66 million after drafting him. His next contract would have been contingent on major league success. By contrast, more than half of active NFL quarterbacks have earned at least $10 million in their careers, compared to 28 percent of outfielders, according to Spotrac. And about 11 percent of NFL quarterbacks have made at least $100 million, compared to 5 percent of outfielders.

Does he get to keep the $4.66 million?

No. According to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million installment he has already received from the A’s. He will forfeit the remaining $3.16 million due on March 1.

Do the A’s get any compensation?

Nope. They do retain his rights if he ever returns to baseball, but they won’t receive a compensatory draft pick because those are reserved for teams whose draft picks never sign a contract.

Does that mean Murray wouldn’t play both sports?

Probably so, but he could always revisit it over time. The standard NFL contract prohibits players from participating “in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”

The model set forth by Russell Wilson is one to keep in mind. After playing minor league baseball while he was in college, Wilson has visited major league spring training as an NFL quarterback, working out with other players and sitting in the dugout during games. He did receive one at-bat during an exhibition game, to which the Seahawks agreed beforehand.

OK, what’s the next step now that he’s made up his mind?

Murray will spend the next two weeks preparing for the NFL scouting combine, which opens Feb. 26. At some point, we’ll find out if he intends to throw at the combine or save that portion of the evaluation for Oklahoma’s Pro Day. Teams typically seek out private meetings and workouts with quarterback prospects as well. The draft itself will take place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

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Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed field goal on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 17, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey (1) watches his field goal during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports on Friday, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.

Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.

Parkey, a five-year veteran, not only missed a career-high seven field-goal attempts and three extra points during the regular season, but his 43-yard attempt in the final seconds of the NFC wild-card round against the Philadelphia Eagles first hit the upright then the crossbar before bouncing back on the field.

Despite the NFL later ruling that the kick was partially blocked, Parkey took much of the public blame for the Bears’ season ending.

Parkey began his career with the Eagles in 2014 when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, scoring a franchise-record 150 points while making 32 of 36 field-goal tries. In two seasons with the Eagles, Parkey never missed an extra point.

Parkey later kicked for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and Miami Dolphins in 2017.

In January, the Bears signed Tulsa product Redford Jones after conducting a workout that reportedly included multiple hopefuls. Jones made 50 of his 67 field-goal attempts at Tulsa from 2015-17, and he does have a kick on his resume where he hit both uprights. Unlike Parkey’s double-doink, though, that 2016 attempt against Cincinnati ended up going over the crossbar for three points.

“We need more production out of that position,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last month after signing Jones. “We know we need to get better there, and it will be an area of focus.”

—Field Level Media

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WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

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WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

Belinda Bencic secured a spot in the final by stunning two-time champion Elina Svitolina 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) on Friday at the Dubai Duty Free Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 22, 2019 Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in action during the Semi Final against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Bencic trailed 5-3 in the final set before recovering to defeat the sixth-seeded Svitolina. She will face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the championship match after the Czech Republic star defeated Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“I think I’m always the most proud of how I fight,” Bencic said after posting the victory. “Even when I lose, I learned myself to just look in the mirror and be proud of myself when I’m fighting, when I’m giving my all, when I’m trying to do what I have to do.”

Bencic won eight consecutive points after Svitolina was in position to close out the match. Then the Switzerland native carried the momentum into the tiebreaker to notch one of the biggest victories of her career by outdueling the Ukrainian.

“Basically, I stayed in the zone, even in (the) tiebreak,” Bencic said. “I was barely breathing, just playing automatic. You are not thinking any more. It’s where the instincts just guide you through it.”

Bencic will be seeking her third career title when she squares off with Kvitova, who will be shooting for her 27th.

Kvitova dropped the first set on Friday before recovering to win the last two.

“It was a tough one today, for sure,” Kvitova said. “She really didn’t give me anything for free. It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. I didn’t play great at the end of the first.

“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set. I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow. I don’t know. It was something weird.”

Kvitova overcame eight double faults to claim the victory.

Hungarian Ladies Open

Top-seeded Alison Van Uytvanck defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals in Budapest.

Van Uytvanck, of Belgium, will face fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semis. The Russian dispatched third-seeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic will face Russian Anastasia Potapova in the other semi. Vondrousova outlasted Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 while the 17-year-old Potapova fought past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

—Field Level Media

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing charges of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.

The 77-year-old Kraft was one of 25 people involved in the alleged solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.

Michael Edmondson, spokesman for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, told ESPN that the nature of any charges that the 25 people face will not be released until next week.

Kraft has denied wrongdoing.

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