Kyler Murray doesn’t want to hear your jokes or comments about the “independent study” clause in his new contract with the Arizona Cardinals. He also doesn’t want you to think he can make it to the NFL without studying film.
The newly minted $230.5 million quarterback held an impromptu press conference Thursday to talk about all the buzz part of his new contract with requires him to spend at least four hours a week on feature films in an attempt to save his reputation in the league.
“I am speaking today because I think it is necessary given what is happening to me and the things that are being said about me. To think I can do everything I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take that seriously is disrespectful and almost a joke,” Murray said. “For me, I’m flattered, honestly, I’m flattered that you would think that with my size I could go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it seriously. It is disrespectful, I feel, to my peers. To all the great athletes and great players that are in this league. This game is too hard.”
Murray declined to say whether he was upset that the team even included the clause in his deal, but he continued to list his personal accolades and accomplishments since high school — which are many — as perhaps a way to prove that he’s learning the game. He also noted that there are “different” ways to study film.
“I’m not 6-7, 230 pounds. I can’t throw it 85 yards. I’m already behind the 8-ball. I can’t afford to take shortcuts – no pun intended. Those things you can’t achieve if you don’t prepare in the right way and don’t take the game seriously. Like I said, it’s funny.
“On the movie side of things: There are many different ways to watch a movie. There are many different ways to handle the game. There are a lot of different ways quarterbacks learn the play and break the play down,” he added. “Of course I’m watching a movie alone. That’s a given. That goes without saying.
“… I refuse to let my work ethic and preparation be questioned. I put an unfathomable amount of time and blood, sweat, tears into what I do.”
The now infamous, quirky and possibly first-of-its-kind nature of this part of Murray’s five-year, $230.5 million extension raised jokes and memes everywhere social media and into the NFL pantheon. Much of the fanfare seemed to revolve around Murray’s study habits more than the fact that the Cardinals gave a quarterback just entering his fourth season $160 million in guaranteed money and $46.1 million annually.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports wrote after the news broke that the reactions around the league were “somewhat of a shock. Some fun. And some assumptions that this is a confirmation of sorts.”
“If this is the kind of problem that needs to be solved [in the deal]then maybe you should rethink if you want to do [the deal] at all,” said one Robinson executive. “Or figure out another way to do it that doesn’t make everyone think—justifiably or not—that you have a troubled person who is committing at the level you need. It just seems deliberate, like someone wanted it there to get their pound of flesh in a negotiation. I don’t know any other way to see it. You put the tongue out there and you know it’s going to be history forever. And so it shall be.”
Murray even admitted in a New York Times article at the end of the 2021 season that he doesn’t watch hours of game film like other quarterbacks.
“I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go there and just see it before it happened,” Murray told the New York Times. “I’m not one of those guys who’s going to sit there and kill themselves while watching a movie. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because I see so much in my head.”
Regardless of what Murray’s future clause means, it exists and is widely known now. That’s a distraction the Cardinals will have to deal with in 2022, with Murray locked up through at least 2027.
“Like I said, it’s funny,” Murray continued Thursday. “For those of you who believe that I’m going to stand here today in front of you with no work ethic and no preparation — I’m honored that you would think that, but that doesn’t exist. Not possible.”