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Kyler Murray doesn't want to hear your jokes or comments about the "independent study" clause in his new Arizona Cardinals contract. He also doesn't want you to think he could make it to the NFL without studying film.
The newly-minted $230.5 million quarterback held an impromptu press conference Thursday to talk about everything that's been said about the part of his new contract with requires him to spend at least four hours per week game film in an attempt to save his reputation around the league.
"I'm talking today because I feel it's necessary with what's going on as far as regarding me and the things that are being said about me. To think that I can everything that I've accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take this serious is disrespectful and almost a joke," Murray said. "To me, I'm flattered, I'm honestly flattered that ya'll think at my size I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it serious. It's disrespectiful, I feel like, to my peers. To all the the great athletes and great players that are in this league. This game's too hard."
Kyler Murray stepped up to the mic because he had something to say... this is what leaders do.
Murray making a surprise media appearance to push back on the talk that he doesn’t study and the homework clause in his contract. @12SportsAZ
Here's his nearly 4 minute statement. pic.twitter.com/gPSr2acPFW
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) July 28, 2022
Murray declined to say if he was upset the team even included the clause in his deal, but he did go on to list his personal accolades and accomplishments since high school – for which there are many – as perhaps a way to prove he studies the game. He also noted 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 any shortcuts – no pun intended. Those things you can't accomplish if you don't prepare the right way and take the game serious. Like I said, it's laughable.
"To the film side of things: There’s multiple different ways to watch film. There's many different ways to process the game. There's many different ways quarterbacks learn the game and break the game down," he added. "Of course I watch film by myself. That's a given. That doesn't need to be said.
"... I refuse to let my work ethic and my preparation be in question. I’ve put in an incomprehensible amount of time and blood, sweat, tears in what I do."
The now-infamous, strange and possibly first-of-its-kind nature of that part of Murray's five-year, $230.5 million extension garnered jokes and memes throughout social media and within the NFL pantheon. It seemed like much of the fanfare revolved around Murray's study habits more than the fact the Cardinals gave a quarterback who is only entering his fourth season $160 million in guaranteed money and $46.1 million annually.
Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson wrote after the news came out that the reactions around the league were "some shock. Some amusement. And some suggestions that it’s a confirmation of sorts."
“If it’s the kind of problem that needs to be addressed [in the deal], then maybe you should rethink whether you want to do [the deal] at all,” one executive told Robinson. “Or figure another way to do this that doesn’t make everyone think — justified or not — that you have a guy with issues dedicating to a level you need. That just looks intentional, like someone wanted it out there to get their pound of flesh in negotiations. I don’t know any other way to see it. You put the language in there and you know it’s going to be a story forever. And it will be, too.”
Murray even admitted in a New York Times article at the end of the 2021 season that he doesn't watch pour over game film for hours like other quarterbacks.
“I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens,” Murray told the New York Times. “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”
Regardless of what the clause means for Murray's future, it exists and is widely-known, now. That's a distraction the Cardinals will have to deal with in 2022 with Murray locked in until at least 2027.
"Like I said, it's funny," Murray continued Thursday. "To those of you out there who believe that I'd be standing here today in front of ya'll without having a work ethic and without preparing – I'm honored that you'd think that, but it doesn't exist. It's not possible."