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Arizona Cardinals remove ‘independent study’ clause from star QB Kyler Murray contract as he calls questions about work ethic ‘disrespectful’

<i>Kohjiro Kinno/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images</i><br/>Kyler Murray scrambles against the Rams. The Arizona Cardinals announced on July 28 that they have removed the
Sports Illustrated via Getty Ima
Kohjiro Kinno/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Kyler Murray scrambles against the Rams. The Arizona Cardinals announced on July 28 that they have removed the "independent study" clause from Murray's contract.

By Ben Morse, CNN

The Arizona Cardinals announced on Thursday that they have removed the “independent study” clause from star quarterback Kyler Murray’s contract after he called questions about his work ethic “disrespectful.”

“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the statement from the team, which CNN obtained, said. “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract.”

Earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that in Murray’s new five-year, $230.5 million contract, the Cardinals had included a clause requiring Murray to “complete at least four (4) hours of independent study” during game weeks.

The clause stated that Murray will not receive credit for the independent study regarding game preparation if he “is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played” or if the player is involved in activities that could distract his attention, such as television, video games or browsing the internet.

After practice on Thursday, Murray held an unannounced press conference, beginning with a monologue defending how he’s become one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

“I feel it’s necessary, you know, with what’s going on regarding me and the things that are being said about me,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “To think that I can accomplish everything that I have 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.

“To me, I’m flattered. I want to say 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, I feel like, to my peers, to all the great athletes and great players that are in this league. This game is too hard. To play the position that I play in this league, it’s too hard.”

Murray, however, would not answer questions as to whether the clause had bothered him.

Later in the day, Rapoport, who cited sources, reported that the clause had been removed on Wednesday. Hours later, the Cardinals released a statement announcing the removal of that requirement.

Murray — who is a keen gamer — was keen to stress that he would not have reached where he has if his off-field work was below the level required.

“I’ve put in an incomprehensible amount of time, blood, sweat, tears and work into what I do, whether it’s football or baseball,” Murray said.

“People can’t comprehend the amount of time that it takes to do two sports at a high level in college. Let alone be the first person to do it ever at my size, like I said, it’s funny, but to those of you out there that believe I would be standing here today in front of y’all without having a work ethic and without preparing, I’m honored that you think that. But it doesn’t exist. It’s not possible, so that’s all I have on that.”

Murray is entering his fourth season in the NFL in 2022. He’s been voted to the Pro Bowl in the past two seasons, and was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019.

He has developed into one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league as he is a threat with both his arm and his legs. In his three seasons in the NFL, he’s thrown for 11,480 yards and 70 touchdowns, as well as running for 1,786 yards and 20 touchdowns.

However, despite his personal success, the Cardinals have only reached the playoffs once in his three years at the helm, exiting meekly last season to the eventual Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams.

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