Kyler Murray is set to start Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals against the Atlanta Falcons — the first time he’ll have played in a game in exactly 11 months.
What are his emotions as he prepares to take over at quarterback for the Cardinals following a prolonged knee rehab?
“I’m kind of emotionless,” Murray told reporters on Thursday. “Not trying to get too high, get too low. It’s been a long, long 10 months.”
Murray suffered a torn ACL at State Farm Stadium on Dec. 12, 2022. His knee was repaired on Jan. 3, and Murray has been rehabbing it since. Murray finally came off the reserve/physically unable to perform list this week after his 21-day practice window was opened on Oct. 18.
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Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon said earlier this week that he was excited for Murray’s return but warned that our expectations must be realistic. “We (have) got to be willing to understand that it might not look like (pre-injury) Kyler, and I think he’s got a good expectation of that,” Gannon on Monday.
Asked about his coach’s comments, Murray said on Thursday that he doesn’t believe the injury will change the way he’s always tried to play.
“Every time I take the field, I’m trying to do my thing,” Murray said. “I hear what (Gannon is) saying, but that’s not in my head.”
Murray was one of the best scrambling and running quarterbacks in the NFL before he injured his knee. Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing incorporated the QB run game frequently with Josh Dobbs — traded to the Vikings on Oct. 31 — at QB this season and said he doesn’t plan to restrict Murray’s running skills with his play calling.
Murray, 26, signed a $230 million extension in 2022, which will run through his age-31 season in 2028. But following massive changes throughout the organization since signing that deal, Murray’s performance down the stretch figures to weigh heavily in his future with the club. The Cardinals (1-8) have been competitive, but they’re currently mired in a six-game losing streak.
Sunday will mark Murray’s first game with the Cardinals’ new coaching staff, which was brought in during the offseason following the firing of Kliff Kingsbury. Despite his coach preaching patience with his quarterback’s performance, Murray said he and Gannon hit it off right away and that they’re in lockstep heading into their first game together.
“I think we see things the same way,” Murray said on Thursday. “The competitiveness is there, and he loves the game. I know he loves the game. He understands the game. We just see eye to eye.”
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