Deion Sanders to Kyler Murray: Pick up the bat, don't look back
There are few people in the world who have lived the choice Kyler Murray was and is up against: MLB or NFL. One of those people is Deion Sanders, the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series.
Sanders gave his advice for the 2018 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback during an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion on Monday.
Murray’s decision not officially over
Murray announced via tweet that he declared for the NFL draft, in which he’s expected to be a first-round pick. The move ends his career at Oklahoma, where he would be entering his senior season, but does not end a potential baseball pursuit.
The 5-foot-10 athlete was drafted with the No. 9 overall pick in last year’s MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. The team gave Murray a $4.6 million signing bonus, allowed him to play one more season at Oklahoma — where he took the starting role after Baker Mayfield’s departure — and wants him at spring training next month.
Another decision will come in February when the 21-year-old Murray must decide between A’s spring training in Arizona, which begins Feb. 15 for position players, and the NFL combine in Indiana, which starts Feb. 26.
Sanders says he’d choose baseball
Sanders, 51, played outfield part-time for nine years, including with the Atlanta Braves during the 1992 World Series.
He played cornerback in the NFL for 14 years, winning a Super Bowl in the 1994 season with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the Dallas Cowboys the following year. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Sanders told Champion he’s happy with his success in the NFL, but wishes he could have given baseball “more.”
“If I was in his shoes, I’m picking up the baseball bat, and I’m not looking back. … That’s just for me. Sometimes, I still have regret that I didn’t give it more, but you know, I’ve got a gold jacket in the closet. I’m straight. But I wish I would have given it more.
“But for Kyler, that’s tough at his position, and I don’t think he realized the ridicule you go through once you declare and say, ‘I’m gonna be a football player.’ Now, people start talking about your height, your size, what you can’t do — he hadn’t dealt with that yet.
“I think he could do whatever he wants to do; he’s that kind of athlete.”
What Murray can’t do, Sanders said, is play both as he did more than two decades ago. For one, it’s a different time with different expectations. It’s also a slightly different situation for a quarterback versus a cornerback.
“Life won’t allow him to [do both],” Sanders said. “This game won’t allow him to at this position.”