A’s prospect Murray ready to lead Oklahoma football first

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Billy Beane will watch Oklahoma football this fall with great interest in the Sooners quarterback: Kyler Murray will be a member of the Oakland Athletics as soon as his college career is complete.

A’s manager Bob Melvin, an admittedly superstitious guy, might close his eyes and cross his fingers the prized prospect stays healthy before switching sports.

First-round pick Murray signed Friday, met his potential future teammates and took batting practice at the Oakland Coliseum in uniform – then it will be back to preparing for football.

”I can’t put it into words. Just thankful,” Murray said. ”That’s a huge deal, the organization letting me do that.”

He was greeted by ”WELCOME TO OAKLAND” on the big scoreboard with his photo.

When Oakland drafted Murray ninth overall last week, there was an agreement between the A’s, Murray and his super agent, Scott Boras, that Murray would play his final football season . Beane joked with Boras about Murray committing to 15 years with the A’s.

”Right now it’s getting ready to go win a national championship,” Murray said.

When asked about how negotiations worked for Murray to return to play football, Beane took charge: ”It was a deal breaker for us if he didn’t go back to the University of Oklahoma in the fall.”

”We can’t wait `til January to have him here full-time,” said Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations.

Noted Boras, ”The idea of understanding who an athlete is is very important.”

Murray was an outfielder for the Sooners this season and batted .296 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles and three triples in 189 at-bats.

The A’s can’t wait to see how their prize prospect does with a full season of at-bats.

”He’s really fun to watch on a football field, and he’s going to be fun to watch on a baseball field,” Beane said. ”It’s neat that he gets to do both, and that the country gets to see both, but we’re going to get the best years, and he’s going to have a great baseball career.”

Murray’s uncle, Calvin, was a first-round pick by the San Francisco Giants in 1992 and played parts of five major league seasons.

Murray had no qualms letting everybody know people compare him to Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. He studies Henderson’s film and can’t wait to make the connection and learn from him, saying Henderson is ”a great legend.”

When told about the Rickey reference, Melvin said, ”I’ll take it.”

”We’ll have a vested interest in watching Oklahoma football this year, with our eyes closed and our ears closed,” Melvin said. ”He’s made a commitment to football and we’re excited about it.”

The A’s believe it won’t be long until Murray is a baseball star – and for the long haul.

”This is arguably, and I can say this with a lot of pride, one of the most dynamic athletes we’ve selected since I’ve been here,” Beane said.

For more AP baseball coverage: Hometeaminsider.com

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