Murray defends himself over study clause: My work ethic is unquestionable

Kohjiro Kinno / Sports Illustrated / Getty

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray made an unscheduled media appearance Thursday to defend himself after the revelation of an independent study addendum in his contract extension.

"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 and not take this serious is disrespectful, and it's almost a joke," Murray said, according to PHNX Cardinals.

"I'm flattered that you all think that at my size I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it serious. It's disrespectful to my peers and all the great athletes and great players that are in this league. This game's too hard. To play the position that I play in this league is too hard."

"I refuse to let my work ethic and my preparation be in question," Murray added, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports.

The two-time Pro Bowler declined to answer whether he was mad at the Cardinals for the contract clause, according to AZCardinals.com's Darren Urban.

The star quarterback, who recently inked a five-year, $230.50-million extension, is required to complete at least four hours of independent study each week during each season as part of the contract. "Independent study" is defined as material given to Murray by the team in order to prepare for the upcoming game.

"There's multiple different ways to watch film," Murray said, according to Jones. "Of course we all watch film. That doesn't need to be questioned. ... I've put in an incomprehensible amount of time in what I do."

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill was the driving force behind including the clause in Murray's contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Thursday. Bidwill apparently wanted to offset concerns about making the signal-caller the league's second-highest-paid quarterback.

"Clearly, the Arizona Cardinals, specifically Michael Bidwill, believed that this was something that should be in the contract," Rapoport said. "From my understanding, the thinking from Bidwill and the Arizona Cardinals organization was this: We are committing to Kyler Murray at a place where we maybe feel a little uncomfortable going just money-wise.

"I'm not saying they felt uncomfortable giving him the money, just literally anyone $46 million-plus per year. They wanted some assurances that he's going to continue to work, continue to perform at the level that is necessary, and the kind of level that deserves that contract. That is why this clause was in there. Kyler Murray knew it before he signed it."

Murray, the first overall pick in 2019, has tossed 70 touchdowns against 34 interceptions across three seasons with Arizona. The 24-year-old helped the Cardinals reach the postseason last year for the first time since 2015 after tossing 24 touchdowns and five interceptions in 14 starts.

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Murray defends himself over study clause: My work ethic is unquestionable
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