'It's disrespectful and it's a joke' – Cardinals QB Murray sounds off on preparation questions

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With his work ethic and preparation methods recently called into question, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray called an impromptu press conference on Thursday to answer his critics.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time Pro Bowl honoree bristled at the suggestion he could achieve what he has in both his college and professional career without taking his job seriously.

Murray delivered a sharp response to the recent criticism he has received after a report this week stated his new $230million contract contained a clause that mandated four hours of independent film study per week during the season.

"To think that I can accomplish everything that I've accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion, not take this seriously, is almost – it's disrespectful and it's almost a joke," Murray said.

"I'm honestly flattered that you all think at my size I can go out there and not prepare for the game," the 5-foot-10, 207-pound quarterback said. "This game's too hard. To play the position that I play in this league, it's too hard.

"I'm not 6-7, 230 [pounds]. I don't throw the ball 85 yards. I'm already behind the eight-ball and I can't afford to take any shortcuts, no pun intended."

According to NFL.com, Murray can be found to be in breach of his new deal should he not fulfil the obligations of the "independent study" addendum.

The 2019 No. 1 overall pick last week agreed to the five-year extension, which will make him the NFL's second-highest paid player in terms of average annual salary.

Murray did not directly answer questions about specific parts of the contract, though he did make a statement about his film study habits.

"There's multiple ways to watch film," he said. "There's many different ways to process that game; there's many different ways quarterbacks learn the game and break the game down.

"Of course, I watch film by myself. That's a given. That doesn't even need to be said. But I do enjoy and love the process of watching the game with my guys, the quarterbacks, the coaches.

"I refuse to let my work ethic, my preparation, be in question. I've put in incomprehensible amount of time and blood, sweat and tears and work into what I do.

"To those of you out there who believe that I'd be standing here today in front of you all without having a work ethic and without preparing, I'm honoured that you think that, but it doesn't exist. It's not possible.”

Murray, a former standout baseball player at Oklahoma as well who was taken ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft, led the Cardinals to their first playoff appearance in six years with an 11-6 finish to the 2021 season.

The 24-year-old began last season as an MVP candidate as Arizona got off to a 7-0 start, with Murray producing a 116.8 passer rating with a 73.5 per cent completion rate and 17 touchdown passes during that stretch.

However, his play dropped off over the season's second half. Murray's passer rating dipped to 86.5 as Arizona went 2-5 over his next seven starts, and he struggled with a no-touchdown, two-interception performance in the Cardinals' 34-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the opening round of the playoffs.

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