Kyler Murray focused on Alabama, not future career

It's the question that is likely to keep on giving: What will Kyler Murray do after the College Football Playoff?

Murray spoke to reporters Thursday and, surprise: He's not looking beyond Saturday's Orange Bowl, which also functions as a CFP semifinal.

"It's never bad to have options," Murray said Thursday, via ESPN, "but right now my main focus is this game."

If Murray said anything else, he'd be roundly (and rightfully) criticized. He's the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback of the No. 4 team in the nation, tasked with unseating the reigning national champion, led by the quarterback who finished just behind him in the Heisman voting. The stakes don't get much higher than this. Now is not the time to be thinking about baseball.

And yet, one couldn't blame him for at least wondering about what he'll do after the confetti stops falling. Murray is under a $4.66 million contract with MLB's Oakland Athletics, signed after being selected ninth-overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. With Baker Mayfield gone for the NFL, Murray was widely expected to play football for one more season at Oklahoma, then report to the A's and begin his professional hardball career.

That was before the 4,053 passing yards, the 51 total touchdowns, the Big 12 title and the Heisman Trophy. That was before the College Football Playoff berth.

Now, with a quarterback class that looks to be much weaker than expected, Murray has at least a little thinking to do. He's already drawn comparisons to one football comet many thought we'd never see again.

"I never thought I'd see Michael Vick again, but Kyler is the closest thing because of the speed, for one, the accuracy and the arm strength," Oklahoma assistant and former Vick teammate Shane Beamer said, via ESPN. "You've maybe seen other guys come along who had one of the three or two of the three. But Kyler is accurate. Kyler has insane arm strength, and he's so fast. And they're both fierce competitors in anything and hate to lose."

Vick was the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft and was worth it. That's high praise -- and expectation that might be hard to ignore.

Murray already has the start of a future in baseball laid out for him. He knows where spring training will be, and whose cap he'll wear. But is he ready to hit the rough life of the minor leagues (no matter how short that stint might be) when the NFL spotlight and a trip across the stage in Nashville likely awaits him, should he so choose to accept it?

We won't know soon -- at least not until Oklahoma's season is finished. The deadline for underclassmen to declare intentions to enter the NFL draft is Jan. 14.

"Nothing has changed," Murray said. "I haven't put any energy into worrying about it or anything like that. All I can do is go out and play on Saturday and let my play speak for itself."

He'll approach the biggest podium of his career Saturday.

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