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Lincoln Riley vouches for Kyler Murray’s work ethic

To cap a week in which the Cardinals unnecessarily called quarterback Kyler Murray‘s work ethic into question, his college coach defended the Heisman Winner, based on his time at Oklahoma.

Riley, speaking at a press conference in his new capacity as head coach at USC, said that Murray’s work ethic “was a big concern,” via Greg Beacham of the Associated Press.

“I was really concerned when I had him at OU that he was gonna burn himself out,” Riley added. “I don’t know why the clause was in there, but having him for three years, I never worried. His work ethic is one thing I’ll never question.”

No one knows specifically why the clause was added to Murray’s contract. (It supposedly has been removed.) As previously explained, the Cardinals were concerned that Murray hadn’t worked hard enough in the past or that, once given a gigantic second contract, he’d stop working as hard. It’s also possible that owner Michael Bidwill simply wanted to make a power play aimed at reminding Murray that, despite his salary, Bidwill remains the boss.

Regardless, it was the kind of unforced error that creates a weeklong distraction at best, irreparable harms relationships at worst. Time will tell which bucket the Cardinals’ blunder falls into.