Cardinals RB Michael Carter has fantastic things to say about QB Kyler Murray's work ethic

Arizona Cardinals backup running back Michael Carter shined a light on starting quarterback Kyler Murray's work ethic since Carter joined the team in November.

"The more I've gotten to know him, I don't think he ever leaves (the Cardinals training facility)," Carter said when speaking with the Arizona Sports radio station on Wednesday about Murray. "I'm in the building right now — I don't think he leaves here. I don't. He's always in here. He's the freakin' first person in. I'm sure he's the last person out."

This is a far cry from the reputation that Murray once had by many members of sports media, who were not shy about criticizing Murray's behavior towards his teammates. For instance, the late ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen reported that "Murray is described as self-centered, immature and finger pointer, per sources" in February of 2022.

Interestingly, Carter said what he said about Murray on Arizona Sports radio host Dan Bickley's show. After Mortensen's 2022 report, Bickley said he "recently heard that at halftime of games, (Murray) is known to call his girlfriend or sit at his locker wearing earbuds. In other words, not exactly plugged into the collective.”

Counterpoints to the narrative surrounding Kyler Murray

At the time, former Cardinals team reporter Kyle Odegard reported that a source told (where he wrote for at the time) that what Bickley said was a "flat-out lie" about Murray calling his girlfriend during games. As for Mortensen's report, the Cardinals themselves responded with a statement which read "Nothing has changed regarding our opinion and high regard for Kyler Murray. We as a team and Kyler individually have improved each year he’s been in the league."

It appears that newer Cardinals like Carter still stand by that statement.

"I know for a fact he's probably the last person out (of the facility)," Carter said. "Because there's some times when I try to be the first person in. Last week, one time I was like; 'You know what? Let me just try to be the first person in.' I think we had a meeting at 9:15. I think I might've got here at like 7:15, maybe. That's two hours, you know? That lambo already here. ... He's always in the building. A lot of credit to him."

Back in July of 2022, Murray signed a contract extension worth $230.5 million. In the contract included an addendum that forced Murray to spend four hours of independent study during every game week. The independent study would not count if Murray was "watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet" during the study.

The clause was removed within days after Murray signed the contract due to media backlash. ESPN insider Adam Schefter said that the clause was "a reflection of how the Cardinals are concerned about his work habits. It doesn't make either side look good in this particular case." ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said the clause "looks bad on everybody" and likened it to him making a deal with his fifth-grade child that he has to study for an hour before watching television or playing video games.

Cardinals backing their signal-caller

After removing the clause, the Cardinals stated that "It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it's ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract."

That is much more reflective of what his teammate in Carter has to say about who Murray is as a leader.

"I don't even think I've ever told him this, you know I don't think he knows this ... but seeing him around the building, seeing him always grinding; it sets the example because you know he is the leader of the team and makes everybody around him go harder, myself included," Carter said.

Murray is coming off of a season in which he threw for just 6.7 yards per attempt, however he did complete 65.7% of his passes and scored 13 total touchdowns to just five interceptions on the year, while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. After a torn ACL suffered in December of 2022, Murray did not have a full offseason to prepare for the season, and had to miss the first nine games. He has had that this offseason, however, as he adapts to second-year Offensive Coordinator Drew Petzing's new offense.

After all, after Carter's comments; Odegard reported that he has been told that Murray is "in a great headspace and is super motivated as the season approaches."

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Cardinals RB crushes negative perception of Kyler Murray's work ethic