DeMarco Murray Joins Oklahoma Staff

Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star
DeMarco Murray is returning to Norman.

Murray, 31, was named Oklahoma's running backs coach after the departure of Jay Boulware to Texas,  Lincoln Riley announced on Monday.

He called the opportunity to return to Norman, “surreal,” where he set school records for all-purpose yards (6,718) and touchdowns (65).

After earning first-team All-Big 12 honors twice in four season at Oklahoma, Murray was selected 71st overall in 2011 NFL Draft.

Becoming an All-Pro in the NFL, he was named to Pro Bowl on four occasions in seven seasons.

"This is very surreal, " said Murray, via SoonerSports.com. "Obviously I never thought I'd be back coaching at the place where it all started for me. Having the opportunity to come back and be among great coaches and be with some of the people I grew up with is exciting. I'm thankful for the opportunity Coach Riley is giving me and I'm looking forward to being back home.”

Riley welcomed Murray and his family to Norman with excitement, calling his future in coaching “bright.”

 "This is a really exciting day, being able to welcome one of our program's all-time best players back to Norman," Riley said in the statement.

"DeMarco had a tremendous playing career both at OU and in the NFL and has a passion for coaching and helping young men grow as players and people. He's got an incredibly bright coaching future and will be an outstanding mentor to our players. I don't think there's anyone better to lead our running backs. Everyone in our program is excited to have DeMarco, his wife Heidi and their children as part of our family."

After a stint as an analyst for FOX Sports, Murray joined Kevin Sumlin's coaching staff at Arizona in January of 2019, as running backs coach.

Arizona ranked 52nd in FBS rushing offense, according to NCAA statistics.

Murray expressed gratitude to Sumlin, an assistant coach at Oklahoma (2006-07), for allowing him the opportunity to break into the coaching ranks.

"Coach Sumlin gave me that first chance to coach and I appreciate everything he's done for me," Murray said. "I've known him dating back to when I was 18 or 19 years old at OU. He's always been a great friend of mine and we stayed in constant communication after he left OU and throughout our careers. He's a great guy who always creates a fun environment for his staff and players. I appreciate him taking a chance on me and I learned a lot from him last year."

Murray will open his first spring camp in Norman as coach on March 7.

Oklahoma's annual red-white spring game is scheduled for April 13.


Former Sooners React To Kobe Bryant's Death

The Undefeated
Former Oklahoma athletes reacted to the tragic news of the death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Sunday in southern California.

Among the five on-board killed was Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria, according to TMZ.

Bryant, 41, was a 5-time NBA Champion and fourth leading scorer in league history.


More To Come


Trae Young Returns To OKC As All-Star Starter

Brett Davis
Trae Young returns home as an All-Star starter when Oklahoma City Thunder (26-19) hosts Atlanta Hawks (11-34) tonight at 7 pm.

“To hear the news and be in Oklahoma, it’s special, ” Young said in Friday's shootaround, via Atlanta Hawks.

Young, Hawks SG, is coming the heels of Thursday's announcement of being named an All-Star starter for Eastern Conference.

“I was super excited,” Young told reporters, via The Oklahoman, this morning ahead of tonight’s contest.

 “Just started tearing up, and emotions were just flowing. It felt a lot like all the hard work and all that I put into the summer and the offseason just paid off. Obviously, I want to continue to get better and win some more games with this team, but me being an All-Star has definitely been a dream of mine.”

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce spoke about Young receiving the news in Oklahoma.

“It’s one of those stories where it’s perfect timing, perfect situation, perfect opportunity,” Pierce told reporters Friday, via Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He is the third-leading scorer in the league (29.2 PPG), fourth in assist (8.6) in his second year.

NBA's annual All-Star game is February 16 in Chicago.

Tress Way Enjoying Pro Bowl Experience

Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press
Washington Redskins punter Tress Way is experiencing his first-ever Pro Bowl week.

He was greeted to cool, overcast skies and damp conditions upon his arrival to Orlando.

"It is windy and freezing. That is not what I had in mind leaving Oklahoma to come down to the Pro Bowl, but nonetheless, it is a Pro Bowl, and this is forickin' sweet," Way said, via Redskins.com.

The conditions didn’t dampen Way's mood, though, when he took part in the first group meeting Tuesday evening.

"It's so hard to describe," Way said. "It is definitely surreal. When we had that welcome reception and seeing everyone, it was like, 'this is the Pro Bowl.'"

He is team's first special teams member named to Pro Bowl since Matt Turk in 1998.

For the All-Pro punter, it’s not all business, though. He plans to visit Harry Potter World, and participate in the many planned events celebrating the National Football League.

"I'm just so thankful," Way added. "This is so awesome."

Last month, Way, Washington signed, the fourth richest deal by a punter, a four-year, $14M.

Mayfield, Murray Among Top Apparel Sellers in NFL

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray continue to flex their retail selling power.

The pair of former Oklahoma quarterbacks are among the top merchandise sellers in the NFL, according to the newly released NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales list.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield ranked fourth (-1 from the previously released ranking) in overall league sales, ahead of teammate Odell Beckham, Jr. in fifth, according to sales data from March 1 – November 30.

Mayfield was a top-5 seller in categories of youth apparel, bobbleheads, and aprons. He led the league in chalk line jacket sales.

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray is ranked 39th(-5).

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City Chiefs led the league in official merchandise sales followed by quarterback Tom Brady and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The rankings are based NFL Player's Association sales figures of all officially licensed merchandise sales from online and traditional retailers.


WATCH: Trae Young Gets Emotional After Being Named All-Star Starter

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Trae Young was named an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference, the league announced on Thursday night.

Young, 21, has a rise and fire approach to shooting.

At any given time pulling up 20 or 30 feet away from the basket to lob one toward the rim. Becoming a threat anywhere on the court.

Young, only in second-season, got emotional upon hearing the announcement of being named a starter for first-time.

On Tuesday, he recorded his second 40-plus points, 15-plus assists in a game this season.

He is the only player to ever accomplish such feat, according to Basketball Reference's database.

Young, received over 2.8M fan votes, is averaging 29 PPG, shooting 44% from the field, including 37% beyond the arc and averaging 8.6 assists this season.

He will be joined by Kemba Walker, Joel Embid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Pascal Siakam in the Eastern Conference.

As the Western Conference will be represented by Anthony Davis, Lebron James, James Harden, Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard.

The NBA All-Star game is Sunday, February 16 in Chicago.


Lane Johnson Named to Third Consecutive Pro Bowl

Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson was added to Pro Bowl as an alternate, Adam Caplan first reported on Monday.

Johnson wasn’t pleased about being snubbed when Pro Bowl selections were originally announced in December. It will be Johnson’s third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.

Johnson, 29, was graded as the second-highest tackle in the league at 88.8 by Pro Football Focus. He allowed only one sack and four quarterback hits. He performed at an elite level as a run-blocker – receiving the highest grade (92.6) by PFF.

In November, he was rewarded with 4-year, $72M contract for his on-field performance, signing the richest contract for an NFL offensive lineman in league history.

He missed four games this season -- one game with a concussion and the final three regular season games with high ankle sprain.

Johnson will join former Oklahoma players – tight end Mark Andrews, tackle Orlando Brown and punter Tress Way.

The 2020 Pro Bowl will be played Sunday 2 PM/CT on ESPN/ABC.


Kyler Murray Is Open To Playing Both In NFL, MLB

Matt York/Associated Press
Kyler Murray might have bigger aspirations than playing in the NFL.

Achieving successful playing careers on both the baseball diamond and gridiron. Becoming the only athlete selected in the first round in both the Major League Baseball and National Football League drafts.

Murray, 22, has reopened the door to possibly playing both sports professionally at some point. Reminders of  Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson.

"I think I could," Murray told the Arizona Republic. "Athletically, I think, yeah, I could do it. I've been playing both my whole life. I would love to add that to the rΓ©sumΓ©."

Murray, while at Oklahoma, was an outfielder that hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs in 2018 season. Drafted ninth overall in 2018 MLB Draft by Oakland Athletics, the organization holds the rights to Murray after signing a $4.66M signing bonus.

However, he opted to continue his flourishing football career -- winning the 2018 Heisman Trophy and becoming the first overall selection in 2019 NFL Draft.

"I don't understand why in sports they try to marginalize it," Murray told the Republic. "They try to make you pick one and I get it, but we'll see. I think it would be fun. Right now, though, I'm just focused on football."

Coming off a successful rookie campaign as Arizona Cardinal's quarterback – setting franchise and league records. Ambitions of pursuing a major league career might be complicated, as Mike Floria of Pro Football Talk notes:

“ [If] Murray decides to play baseball, there’s nothing the Cardinals can do about it. Although the Buccaneers included in Jameis Winston‘s rookie contract a term that would have allowed the team to get an injunction to prevent Winston from engaging in any type of baseball activity, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to eliminate the power of teams to slam the door, legally, on a two-sport effort. Although playing baseball would void Murray’s guarantees.”

Murray signed a 4-year, $35.1M a rookie contract last season, according to Over The Cap. Of that, $35.1M is fully guaranteed unless he pursues his major-league aspirations.


Andrews, Brown Named to First Career Pro Bowl

Ric Tapia, Associated Press
Baltimore Ravens tackle Orlando Brown, Jr. and tight end Mark Andrews were named to their first career Pro Bowl, the team announced on Thursday.

Andrews, 23, in his second season he broke the franchise record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end (7) and led the league with most touchdowns at the position (10).

Andrews expressed gratitude upon hearing the announcement.

"This is an extreme honor, especially since I'm in my second year," Andrews said, via Baltimore Ravens.

A staple of the Ravens' offense, Andrews was quarterback Lamar Jackson’s favorite target.

The 6-5 playmaker was targeted 98-times, catching 64 passes or 65.3% of the throws his direction. He averaged 13.31 yards, accumulating 852.

 "I wouldn't be here without my teammates, particularly our other tight ends – Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst – with everything that we all do on the field. They make my job easier, so this is not an individual award – it's a team award."

Brown, 23, a key member of the future success of the Ravens’ dynamic offense was named a Pro Bowl alternate.  A starting point and providing protection for quarterback Lamar Jackson, and helping Baltimore lead the league in rushing and points per game.

Jackson, a favorite to win league MVP, threw 36 touchdowns, including seven to former Oklahoma teammate Marquise Brown. Jackson added another 1,206 yards on the ground behind Brown's 6-8, 345lb presence.

The journey has been tremulous at times for Brown. After his junior season, he opted to forego his senior season after being named an unanimous All-American at Oklahoma. Many considered him a consensus first-round prospect.

However, Brown had what many considered a historically bad work out at the NFL Scouting Combine. Only able to bench press 14 reps, and running a 5.85, 40.

Brown’s draft stock fell. Ravens opted to risk a third-round pick on the son of Baltimore great, Orlando Brown, Orlando Brown, Jr. at 83rd overall.

Week seven of 2018 season, he made his debut as a starter at right tackle -- a position he didn't relinquish. Not missing a snap since earning the role against Tennessee Titans.

At the start of 2019 season, though, Brown missed the opening of training camp due to a failed physical.

Once he joined teammates, the second-year veteran, Brown resumed where he left off. Starting  in  l 16 games in his Pro Bowl campaign, taking 100% of the snaps – 1107 total.

He allowed defenders to only sack Jackson on three occasions.

Beyond his size, Brown has displayed his field awareness, he accounted for only two penalties this season, offensive holding and illegal formation.

Brown and Andrews will join a record-breaking 11 teammates in the league's annual Pro Bowl on January 26.


Report: Dallas Didn't Consider Lincoln Riley A Candidate For Opening

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Oklahoma fans took a sigh of relief when Dallas Cowboys found their next head coach and his name wasn’t Lincoln Riley.

The team is expected to name Mike McCarthy their next head coach after informing Jason Garrett they plan to move on after his January 15 contract expires, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports' first reported on Monday. McCarthy previously served as Green Bay Packers head coach from 2006-2017.

It was believed Jones would try and lure Riley away from Oklahoma with millions, however, team ownership didn’t attempt to, according to Glazer.

“(People) thought they would go after a Lincoln Riley, but that wasn’t the case. They didn’t want someone with college experience, they wanted someone who was an NFL head coach, ” Glazer told Colin Cowherd on The Herd.

It contradicts a report that Jones wanted to “take the temperature, ” of Riley's interest “in coming to the NFL, ” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said on Sunday.

Jones has previously praised 36-year-old Riley, “I am impressed with him, but boy, I’m impressed with Baylor’s Rhule too, ” he told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Ticket in December.

Riley is signed through 2024 at $6M+ a year to stay at Oklahoma. He is 36-6 in three seasons.


Kenneth Murray To Enter NFL Draft Foregoing Senior Season

IAN MAULE/Tulsa World
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray a.k.a. "K9" will forego his senior season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, Murray Tweeted on Thursday.

As a junior, Murray had a team-high 17 tackles for loss and was named an All-Big 12 selection. He had 332 tackles, 182 solo, 37.0 TFL in 42 career games, per SoonerSports.com.

“After discussing with my family and my coaches, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to chase my biggest dream and enter the 2020 NFL draft,” Murray said, via Tulsa World.

“I will always be a Sooner and I believe this is the right time for me to enter the NFL.”

Listed at 6-2, 234lbs, according to Sports Reference. Murray is considered a late first-round prospect, according to draft analyst Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

“The Packers will be torn between giving Aaron Rodgers more talent at wide receiver or tight end and drafting to round out a defense that was much better in 2019 but still has hole,” Miller writes.

“Murray was a one-man wrecking crew for the Sooners and has shown the speed and instincts to line up at middle linebacker in any defensive alignment. His ability to play against the pass as well as he plays the run will make him a highly coveted prospect in Round 1.”

Murray will join teammate CeeDee Lamb in forgoing his final season to enter April's draft.

The league's annual Scouting Combine is February, 23-March 2 in Indianapolis.