Cardinals say QB Kyler Murray focused on football

Kyler Murray has made no secret that he enjoys video games, including the popular Call of Duty franchise.

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. (AP) — Kyler Murray has made no secret that he enjoys video games, including the popular Call of Duty franchise.

Tight end Zach Ertz said the franchise quarterback also knows he has a duty to study his playbook.

Ertz believes Murray’s love of video games and football can be balanced no matter what unique additions are included in Murray’s new $230.5 million contract that could keep him in the desert through the 2028 season.

“Kyler knows the playbook better than anyone on this team,” Ertz said Tuesday when the Cardinals reported for preseason camp. “He’s been in the system for a long time. In the end, I’m glad he signed a contract that he’s happy about.

“I wasn’t involved in the process, which is well above my pay grade, but it seems like he’s in a really good place mentally.”

Murray finalized his five-year contract last week, but he drew renewed attention on Monday when NFL Network first reported that Murray’s new contract included an “independent study” clause.

It states that the quarterback must study for Arizona’s upcoming game at least four hours a week during the season and that he must not be distracted by “television, video games, or surfing the Internet.”

Fourth-year coach Kliff Kingsbury made it sound like the study supplement wasn’t his idea. He’s just glad the quarterback will be staying in a Cardinals uniform for the foreseeable future.

“I’m not getting into the (contract) negotiations,” Kingsbury said. “My whole role in this has been prayer and supplication, and it has worked really well for me. That’s the negotiation side, I’m the football side.”

The addendum was unexpected for a number of reasons, including the fact that Kingsbury have never expressed displeasure with Murray’s preparation for games. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback certainly had a few duds during his three-year pro career, but knowing the playbook never seemed to be the issue.

So why would the cardinals feel the need to include that language in his treaty? Great question.

Kingsbury said he doesn’t track his players’ iPad usage to see how much they’re learning and that all players need different amounts. He added that the “independent study” mandate in Murray’s contract should not be a cause for concern.

“He’s got a quarter of a billion dollars,” Kingsbury said, laughing. “You can only get excited for so long, I guess. Negotiations – everyone has their things and wants different things. I’m just thrilled that this young man got what I think he deserves.”

Murray was unavailable to the media on Tuesday.

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When the players and staff arrived at a hotel in Phoenix’s western suburbs on Tuesday, no one seemed to care about Murray’s understanding of the playbook.

Ertz — a three-time Pro Bowler who was traded to the Cardinals midway through last season after spending 8 1/2 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles — said Murray was the one he would go to last season when he had football questions have.

“He was the guy who helped me learn the playbook,” Ertz said. “Ultimately, I have to be on the same side as him.”

Murray is entering his fourth season in the NFL and has had some notable accomplishments since being drafted No. 1 overall from Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy last season. He was the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2019 and a Pro Bowl selection for the next two years.

He threw for 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions last season while completing nearly 70% of his touchdowns. He also ran for five touchdowns and has the unique ability to extend plays with his feet to scoot around the pocket before making shots or pulling the ball down and running.

The only major blemish came last season when the Cardinals started 10-2 and then collapsed on the track, losing four of five games before being dumped by the Los Angeles Rams 34-11 in the NFC’s wild card round.

Murray said last week that the ugly playoff loss could benefit the Cardinals in the long run since so many players on the team are eager to atone for that performance.

Kingsbury said he expects even more improvement in year four.

“There’s a handful of quarterbacks that you can win a Super Bowl with in this league,” Kingsbury said. “We have a feeling he’s one of them.” Cardinals say QB Kyler Murray focused on football

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