5 Big Stories in the NFL This Week
The offseason is off to a rollicking start as the biggest star of the 2018 college football season has decided to pursue an NFL career and put his professional baseball future on hold.
Kyler Murray of Allen, Texas leads off in this edition of “5 Big Stories in the NFL This Week”:
Wilfredo Lee via AP
Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray Committing to the NFL
Kyler Murray, last year’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the Oklahoma Sooners, announced via Twitter on Monday that he’s dedicating himself to pursuit of an NFL career. Murray was supposed to report to the Oakland A’s later this week to begin baseball spring training.
“Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback,” Murray tweeted. “Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB and I very much look forward to dedicating 100% of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming NFL workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB of this draft.”
Will Murray be a top 10 pick in April’s NFL Draft? He’s certainly got the talent and play-making skills, but he is small by NFL standards. How small? Well, that depends. The OU baseball guide had him at 5’ 11”, but the OU football guide had him at 5’ 10”. Both of those listings may be generous.
Is Murray really only 5’ 9”? It will be interesting to see the final measurements when he’s put under the microscope, so to speak, at the NFL Combine later this month.
The former first round draft pick of the Oakland A’s has to pay back $1.29 of the $1.5 million signing bonus he received from the A’s last year, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Murray also forfeits the remaining $3.16 million he was due from the A’s as part of his original $4.66 million contract he signed last summer as the 9th overall pick of the baseball draft. The A’s will retain his rights if Murray returns to pro baseball.
Kareem Hunt Returning to NFL, Signs with Brown
Kareem Hunt was signed by the Cleveland Browns on Monday to a one-year deal.
Hunt is the supremely talented running back who was released by the Chiefs in December after a video surfaced in which he shoves and kicks a woman.
Kelvin Kuo via AP
Although he was not charged nor arrested by law enforcement, he was let go by the team and faces a suspension by the NFL. He is currently on the NFL’s commissioner’s exempt list which means he cannot play in a game until the league finishes its investigation and decides whether or not to suspend/discipline him.
Why would the Browns sign a running back who may or may not be suspended, especially when the team already has two really good running backs on the roster in Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson?
Well, the general manager of the Browns is John Dorsey. Dorsey was the GM of the Chiefs when Hunt was drafted in 2017 and made an immediate impact a rookie, rushing for over 1,300 yards, scoring 8 touchdowns, and catching 53 passes.
Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP
AAF: New Football League Scores in the Ratings
There’s a new pro football league called the Alliance of American Football (AAF) which made its debut last weekend and scored big-time with television viewers.
Saturday night’s AAF game averaged just over 2.9 million viewers on CBS. How good is that number?
It’s almost a half-million more viewers than the NBA’s big matchup which aired in the same time slot on ABC.
The AAF’s highest ratings were in San Antonio which boasts one of the AAF teams, the San Antonio Commanders. The Nielsen rating for the game in San Antonio was 6.8. Dallas/Ft Worth and Austin both earned a 3.0 rating.
There are several names in the eight-team AAF that will be familiar to Cowboys’ fans.
Former Cowboys fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston is the general manager of the Commanders. Former Cowboys assistant coach Joe Baker is the Commanders’ running game coordinator.
Former Cowboys defensive end Jim Jeffcoat is the defensive line coach for the Orlando Apollos. Former Cowboys safety Dennis Thurman is the defensive coordinator for the Memphis Express. Former Cowboys assistant coach David Lee is the QBs coach for Memphis.
Former Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar plays for the San Diego Fleet, on the same team as former Cowboys defensive lineman Damontre Moore.
Former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk plays for the Arizona Hotshots. Former Cowboys free agent quarterback Dustin Vaughan plays for the Commanders.
Jaylon Smith Returning to Notre Dame to Finish Degree
Cowboys starting middle linebacker Jaylon Smith is not taking it easy this offseason. He’s going back to school to finish his degree.
Smith will be in South Bend, Indiana this spring semester pursuing his degree in Film & Television. He plays to graduate in May. Smith, the former Cowboys’ 2nd round pick, left school early to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Miles Austin Is Now An NFL Assistant Coach
Miles Austin, the former star wide receiver for the Cowboys, has been hired by San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as an offensive quality control coach.
Austin, who worked in the Cowboys’ scouting department following his NFL playing career, interviewed for a spot on the Cowboys’ coaching staff last year, but the job of WR coach went to Sanjay Lal.
Austin played eight of his 10 NFL seasons for the Cowboys.
Kevin Terrell via AP
He also played a year for the Eagles and the Browns. His offensive coordinator during his year with the Browns was Shanahan.