Aaron Murray isn’t the face of his new football home — that’s a few seasons down the road if everything goes according to plan.
For now, the Kansas City Chiefs rookie quarterback is learning as much as possible while adjusting to life after four years as the most recognized sports figure in Athens.
Murray says he’s much more low-key in K.C.
So much so, that people increasingly have confused him with his now-famous older brother, Josh, who this week became engaged on The Bacholette finale.
“It used to be people thought he was me, but now people are like, ‘Are you on The Bachelorette?’ I have to tell them that’s my brother,” Murray said. “It’s funny how things change in six months.”
Training camp began last week and the Chiefs first preseason game takes place Aug. 7. The Athens Banner-Herald caught up with Murray on Tuesday to discuss his football expectations, Kansas City barbecue and much more.
Q: So who is it — who is the most famous Murray brother, you or Josh?
Murray: “I think it’s Josh. I think “The Bachelorette” has a pretty big audience. Him and (co-star) Andi (Dorfman) have a really great opportunity to do some great stuff right now with just the publicity they’re getting from the show. It was definitely an exciting time and is an exciting time in the Murray household.”
Q: What do days consist of in an NFL training camp?
Murray: “It’s not as long of a day, if you want to compare it to a college preseason camp. The days are shorter, so you’re not at the facility all day long. We have practice in the morning, so it’s nice to get done before it gets too hot outside. We have meetings the rest of the day and sprinkle in watching film and a couple hours off. It’s really not too bad of a schedule at all.”
Q: Is your knee 100 percent (Murray suffered a season-ending ACL tear last November)?
Murray: “I was pretty much full-go for my Pro Day, which was around Easter weekend. It’s been a pretty rapid recovery. It’s been — oh, man — about eight months, somewhere around there. It’s been fast, but the knee feels great. It’s getting stronger and stronger every single day and I have a lot of trust in the knee. There’s no second thoughts with movement or throwing or guys falling around my legs or anything like that.”
Q: What are your expectations for your first season, entering with the starting job occupied by Alex Smith and back-up Chase Daniel, a five-year veteran…
Murray: “My goal is first to make the team, so I’ve got to go out there and ball out. My expectations and the coaches are the same — it’s to maximize my opportunities. I’m not going to get a ton of snaps. This is Alex’s team and he’s going to get his snaps. If he needs more, he’s going to get more, and Chase is going to get a lot of snaps, too. When I get my opportunities to go in there I have to be ready and take full advantage of it. That’s my goal. Also I want to learn from those guys, Alex and Chase. They’ve obviously been through a lot. I just want to pick Alex’s brain about the systems he’s been in, what his planning is going into games. He’s been in the league for 10 years, so he has a lot of knowledge. I’ll watch how he goes through practice, watch how he goes through a game and see how he leads the team and all the other things you look for in a quarterback.”
Q: Is making the team a point of pressure or worry for you?
Murray: “I’m more excited to get the opportunity. It’s tough, it’s a very competitive league. There’s not 125 spots like there is on a college football team, or 85 scholarships. You can only take 53 guys on the roster. It’s tough. Only 10 to 15 teams in the NFL carry three quarterbacks. A lot of teams only keep two. It’s very competitive. You know how it is, I’ve just got to work hard and show these coaches that I understand the playbook and they can put me on the field and trust me.”
Q: What’s living in Kansas City shown you so far?
Murray: “It’s very similar in size to Tampa, where I’m from. There’s a lot to do, it’s a lot of fun. Great food, lot of great barbecue, which I might have had too much of. I put on some weight when I first got here so we had to cut that back a little bit. It’s been awesome so far.”
Q: Are you in the market for a house in the area or how are you handling living arraignments at this point in your career?
Murray: “I’m renting a little apartment right now. You’ve still got to make the team and continue to make the team, so if I sign a big, nice contract I might buy a big house somewhere. We have great personnel people who as soon as we get here they give us the info on places to go, places to eat at, places to live. They set us up with people like realtors who can help with what type of house, how much you want to spend, that kind of stuff. We have tons and tons of people within the Kansas City Chiefs organization that can help you with pretty much everything you need outside of football.”
Q: Is it strange that all you do now is football? No more going to class, studying, etc.
Murray: “It’s not strange. It’s freaking awesome. I love it. It’s a dream come true. Our job is just to play football. That’s unbelievable, it’s a passion. You know, I wake up and I love going into the office every day to watch film, work out. We have a great group of guys in the quarterback room and on the coaching staff, so it makes it fun going in every day and working there.”
Q: Do you keep in contact with coaches and former teammates at Georgia?
Murray: “I talk to coach (Mike) Bobo every now and then. We text back and forth and he’ll check up on me and I’ll check up on him. There’s a few players on the team, actually a good number of them in a group text message where we talk and let each other know how we’re doing, the casual talking and goofing around.”
Q: Do you think you’ll get back to Athens for a game soon?
Murray: “I was going to go back for a game this year but my bye week is the week we (Georgia) play Missouri. So I’m going to go the game. I think it’s only a two or three hour trip over there.”