Kyler Murray Was Refreshingly Honest About His Injury

The Cardinals QB detailed his rehabilitation process on Saturday

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is carted off the field after being injured against the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. The QB recently spoke of the long process back from rehab.
Kyler Murray's road back from his 2022 injury has been challenging, as he recently admitted
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray updated his status on Saturday during the beginning of the NFL’s training camps, and he offered some excellent insight into what an athlete goes through during rehabilitation, both physically and mentally. His comments also provided a roadmap for how the public and the media should approach someone dealing with a severe injury.

Murray, who suffered an ACL injury on December 12 of last year, did not offer a specific timetable for his return. While offering the usual post-injury quotes — “I’m a competitor,” etc. — Murray did deflect most questions about his potential return to the lineup. “Every athlete who’s dealt with an injury like this…an athlete knows when they know” seems like a stock answer, but it’s an honest one.

More importantly, Murray discussed his mental hurdles. “It wasn’t anything I’ve ever experienced,” he admitted about the injury. “After you get the surgery, nobody can really prepare you for the pain or not being able to go to sleep.” Later, he added that “this whole thing is kind of mental. The first time I bent my knee, the PT [physical therapist] had to bend it for me because I was too scared to do it.” Murray also mentioned hesitation during his time back in the weight room and trying anything new in his rehab process, including jumping.

“We’re repairing the body, we’re repairing the mind to do those things,” he said.

For an athlete whose dedication has been questioned, it’s great to hear Murray be candid about the return from his ACL injury and the difficult process he experienced early on and the difficult road ahead.

And notably, the major media outlets have pretty much left Murray’s hesitations and honesty alone. ESPN delegated the “scared” quote to a brief mention six paragraphs into their story. didn’t even really mention it at all, emphasizing the lack of a return timetable for the QB. It’s a far cry from how some media members treated Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott a few years ago when he dared mention he sought help in the offseason for anxiety and depression brought on by the death of his older brother and the coronavirus pandemic.

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It’s a rough game. It’s OK for athletes to seek help, express insecurities and not offer a specific timetable for their return, whether it’s physical or mental trauma (or both). And allowing players to say these things without backlash can only help others come forward and express similar sentiments, ones that go beyond “trying to get back on the field as quickly as I can.”

Murray did say some similar comments, but couched it in some profane honesty. When asked if he learned anything about himself during this rehabilitation process, the QB answered, “Nothing new, I mean if anything I just gained more resiliency and kind of a bulletproof mindset. I was already already confident, I really didn’t give a f— about what other people thought about me or said about me, but this is different. This is kind of you-on-you and no one really knows what you’re going through but yourself and whoever you’re working out with.”

The real question: If Murray’s rehab is going slowly, would it best not to play him at all in 2023? The consensus is that Arizona already has the league’s worst roster; if Murray’s only reason to get back to the field ends up being that he doesn’t want his team drafting another first-round quarterback in 2024, he risks undergoing what Baker Mayfield did in 2021 — rushing back from injury in diminished form, not helping his team at all and risking his future as a starter in the NFL.

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