GLENDALE, AZ — Kyler Murray was not scheduled to speak to the media on day two of Arizona Cardinals training camp, but the face of the franchise felt it was necessary to step in front of the microphone to set the record straight.
"To think that I can accomplish 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, it's disrespectful," Murray said.
The pushback from the Cardinals quarterback comes from the attention that the independent study clause in his new $230 million contract garnered. Murray is required to spend four hours per week watching film away from the team facility.
Former Green Bay Packers front office executive Andrew Brandt said on Twitter that in 30 years of evaluating NFL contracts, he's never seen a homework clause for something that all players do.
Why the Cardinals felt the need to put that clause in there is a question that has yet to be answered, but Murray felt it was important to defend his work ethic that has been called into question.
The Cardinals have reportedly removed the independent study clause. The Cardinals released a statement Thursday evening saying: "After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract. It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract."
"I'm not 6'7", 230 [pounds]. I don't throw the ball 85-yards. I'm already behind the eight ball," he said. "I can't afford to take any shortcuts, no pun intended."
During his unprompted, near-four-minute monologue, Murray listed his accomplishments at all levels of football. 43-0 in Texas high school football. Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma. Drafted #1 overall in the NFL and #9 overall in the MLB. NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and a two-time Pro Bowler.
"Those things you can't accomplish if you don't take the game serious, if you don't prepare the right way. Like I said, it's laughable."
Murray declined to say whether or not he was upset with the organization for putting the clause in the contract in the first place, but watching film is not an issue for him.
"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 said. "Of course, I watch film by myself, that's a given. That doesn't need to be said."
"But I do enjoy and love the process of watching the game with my guys, the quarterbacks, my coaches. I think you can ask any quarterback around the league, the camaraderie in that room, the passion that goes into it. Every man in that room has a job, every man contributes in different ways."
Standing there, wearing a shirt that read 'EA$Y', Murray said it wasn't a shock to see the reaction since the contract clause was leaked, and that the assertive nature of him defending himself wasn't new-found confidence with a long-term contract secured, but something he would have done three years ago if he needed to.
"I refuse to let my work ethic, my preparation be questioned," Murray said. "I've put an incomprehensible amount of time and blood, sweat, tears and work into what I do, whether it's football or baseball. People can't even comprehend the amount of time that it takes to do two sports at a high level in college, let alone be the first person to do it ever at my size."
"Like I said, it's funny, but to those of you out there that believe that I'd be standing here today in front of you all, without having a work ethic and without preparing, I'm honored that you think that. But it doesn't exist. It's not possible."