by Alex Poletti
The newest member of the Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray, announced on Tuesday his decision to forego his NFL career to pursue his true athletic love, shuffleboarding.
This is the second such decision for Murray, who was taken by the Oakland Athletics ninth overall in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. Being such a talented athlete has proven difficult for the Heisman winner, but now it seems that he has found his true passion.
“After months of soul searching, I have finally decided that I will play in the National Shuffleboard Association,” Murray announced on twitter. “I want to thank the Oakland Athletics and the Arizona Cardinals for their patience and guidance in this matter.”
Although he declared for the NFL draft in early 2019, his heart was set on the Shuffleboard table. At first, money led him to football, but his passion couldn’t be swayed that easily.
“I loved playing the outfield, and scrambling in the pocket was quite a feeling, too,” Murray says, “but nothing matches the feeling of sliding those discs across the table. It’s pure exhilaration.”
Though Murray’s love for shuffleboarding comes as a surprise to some, his appearance at the NASC XXIX (or the 2018 North American Shuffleboard Championship for those scrubs who aren’t true sports fans) should have been a harbinger of things to come.
“I saw him in Reno at the tournament, and his face was full of pure joy the whole time,” Rich Phifer, president of the National Shuffleboard Association says. “He was on cloud nine.”
Suffice to say, some Cardinals fans are a little disappointed by the announcement.
“There’s a lot of frustration here,” Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill says. “At least when he declared for the draft, there was some warning. Here, much like Kyler Murray when he left the Athletics, this came out of left field.”
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury offers a different perspective.
“We’re the Cardinals, what else should we have expected?” the freshman head coach says.
One thing that’s clear is that Murray will take one hell of a pay cut. By skipping out on the NFL, Murray will forego his $23 million signing bonus and $35 million four-year contract in order to attend tournaments that you actually have to pay to enter.
“I see how some people could see this as a step down professionally, but that’s okay by me,” the Oklahoma grad says. “It will all be worth it if I can see my name in the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame in Clearwater, Florida. Nothing else can compare to that. Overall, I’m so excited to join the NSA. But not that NSA, the other NSA, the one where we don’t spy on people. Honestly, the one qualm I have is that we need a new acronym.”