Booty: "Impossible" For Murray To Do Both Sports

Kyler Murray can play in the NFL and MLB, Josh Booty said, but he can't do both at the same time

Tiki and Tierney
January 15, 2019 - 6:02 pm

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Kyler Murray was a first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Now he’d like to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Indeed, the Oklahoma product and Heisman Trophy winner has declared for the NFL Draft. Assuming he gets drafted, Murray may try to play both sports, which would put him in rare company.

“It’s very difficult,” Josh Booty said on Tiki and Tierney. “I heard Deion Sanders say yesterday it’s impossible to do what he’s trying to do if he’s trying to do them at the same time – and I agree with that.”

Booty, 43, was the fifth overall pick in the MLB Draft in 1994 and a sixth-round pick in the NFL Draft in 2001. He spent five years (1994-98) in the Marlins organization before becoming quarterback at LSU. He was drafted by the Seahawks and spent a couple of years in the NFL, mostly with the Browns (2001-03).

“I wanted to be the first guy to ever play professional baseball and professional football in the same calendar year,” Booty said, “and I think at the quarterback position, it’s just way too involving. You’re the CEO, you’re the face of the franchise, you’re like the head coach – you’ve got to be in the building. At that position, if you helicopter out and go somewhere else, then the team can’t rely on you. That position is the only position in sports that I think where it can’t be done. You just can’t do that at the quarterback position because everybody is counting on you to run the team as a quarterback. You got to know everybody else’s responsibilities as you do your own.”

Booty, a career .269 hitter, was asked if it’s more difficult to diagnose a complex defense as a quarterback or to learn how to hit great pitching.

“It depends on the kind of athlete you are,” Booty said. “As a runner and the new RPO, the way things are done offensively in college football and kind of trickling into the NFL, I think that makes it a little easier on an athlete, on a quarterback. He doesn’t have to drop back every play and make a read. He doesn’t have the seven-step drop like Elway and those guys had to do in the past. The game has changed, and they get the ball out so fast now, they don’t take unnecessary hits. And the league has changed. They protect the quarterback. 

“So I think it’s a little easier than it was five, 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Booty continued. “I think the game’s changing, and that’s in his favor, there’s no doubt about it, because he can beat you with his legs as he can his arm.”

While Booty does not think Murray could do both football and baseball at the same time, he does think Murray could do both sports in his career. Maybe.

“If he was to sit out a couple years and try to play in the NFL and it didn’t work out for him or he got injured, I think you can’t take more than two or three years away from baseball,” Booty said. “It’s almost becomes impossible to go back into the saddle and tie up the cleats and think you’re going to hit a 95 mile-an hour fast ball or an 89-mile-an-hour slider or lay off the breaking balls. It’s really tough.”

Tim Tebow knows all about it, as he’s trying to go from NFL quarterback to major leaguer.

“Tebow is trying to do it, which is very, very difficult,” Booty said. “No one’s ever done it like that. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime deal, but he seems to be okay doing it, so I’m not going to say Kyler couldn’t do it if he went and played football for three or four years and it didn’t work out and he went back over to the baseball side. He’s that athletic, I know that. And he isn’t a pitcher, so it’s not like he’s going to lose 10 miles an hour on his velocity. At center field, he’s going to be an athlete no matter what.

“So I think he’s in the perfect situation,” Booty continued. “He could go back and play baseball in two or three years. I just wouldn’t sit out five, six, seven years because I think then it’s impossible to play baseball after missing that much time and not being around hitting and doing those types of things every day.”