On Tuesday, former NFL G.M. Charley Casserly appeared on the NFL’s in-house TV network and strayed from his analyst role by reporting on anonymously-provided opinions regarding the Scouting Combine interviews of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. PFT previously has addressed the comments, analyzed them, and suggested a possible motive for Casserly’s one-two punch regarding the knock on Murray and the notion that the Cardinals were shopping current quarterback Josh Rosen in Indianapolis.
On Wednesday morning, Murray’s college coach responded strongly to Casserly’s criticism of the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told Dan Patrick that “I’ve personally spoken with the majority of teams that he met with [at the Combine] and everyone was glowing about their conversations with Kyler . . . basically the complete opposite of what Charley said.”
Now, agent Erik Burkhardt has added his voice to the defense of Murray. Burkhardt gave the following quotes on Wednesday afternoon to PFT.
“My initial reaction was to laugh because I knew the ‘old guard’ would inevitably try to come up with the usual pre-draft nonsense,” Burkhardt said. “But when I later watched this man say what he did, it was over-the-top and definitely felt personal, and that’s when I got pissed off.”
How pissed off did Burkhardt get? Pretty pissed off.
“First and foremost, Kyler is an exemplary person,” Burkhardt said. “He is everything you hope your own son grows up to become. We’re talking about a young man who has done everything right and worked relentlessly his entire life to achieve and push for greatness. We’re talking about the first human ever drafted in the top 10 in two major sports leagues, and who just completed the greatest single season in football history. You will not find even one former teammate or coach at any level in any sport who’s played with Kyler Murray who has anything remotely negative to say about him, his leadership, or his work ethic.”
Burkhardt then shifted from defending Murray to attacking Casserly.
“So what do I think about an agenda-driven ‘analyst’ who’s never once even talked to Kyler or any of his coaches or teammates?” Burkhardt said. “I think it’s disgusting and embarrassing and Casserly should be ashamed of himself.
“Further, my business partners and I personally represent coaches and executives who sat in on eight of Kyler’s 10 formal combine interviews. I spoke directly to each of them, as well as executives from the other two teams and many others who I don’t represent but were present, and all of them were extremely positive about his entire interviews, with each citing specific examples as to why.”
Burkhardt brought it home with a dash of snark directed at Casserly.
“The bottom line here is that it calls into question the motives of a man to get on national television and cite anonymous sources on things such as ‘leadership’ and ‘study habits’ about somebody he’s never met,” Burkhardt said. “Look, If you don’t like Kyler’s game, it’s cool. If you don’t like his size and want to talk about that, that’s fine, too. If you’re into a Heath Shuler-type looking guy, then hype those guys and say why. But when you slander the character and work ethic of a young man who’s worked his ass off his entire life and done everything right to put himself in his current position, you’d better cite your sources and come with a better record than 18-46 as a G.M. of the Texans, and whose own leadership and accountability has been questioned by his old bosses and colleagues, as well as the greatest coach on the planet.”
That last reference was to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said in 2010, “Who’s been wrong more than Charley Casserly since he left the Redskins? His percentage is like a meteorologist.”
Right or wrong, Casserly has reminded everyone over the past 24 hours that he’s still around. And Casserly will be forever connected to Murray, with Casserly’s take either refuted or vindicated by whatever Murray does at the next level.
Regardless, Burkhardt’s point is that Casserly’s take is based on information that easily could be tainted by bias and swayed by agenda. The reporting is incomplete, with sweeping conclusions based on indeterminate bits and pieces that lack the kind of clarity and reliability that would make them suitable for publication or discussion on TV, or anywhere else.
And, yes, Burkhardt has a bias, too. But his is obvious; he represents Murray. Casserly’s comments may be infected by a bias that isn’t apparent, and/or by a vetting procedure that isn’t nearly as exacting as the one that applies to the NFL’s actual in-house reporters.