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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons after recovering from a torn ACL, head coach Jonathan Gannon announced Friday.
Murray tore his ACL in a Dec. 12 matchup against the New England Patriots during the 2022 season and has been sidelined for the last 11 months while recovering.
“I’m kind of emotionless,” Murray told reporters on Thursday of his emotions about taking over at quarterback following a long recovery. “Not trying to get too high, get too low. It’s been a long, long 10 months.”
Gannon told reporters earlier this week that the franchise needs to have realistic expectations for Murray’s first game back after nearly one year out of game action.
“We (have) got to be willing to understand that it might not look like (pre-injury) Kyler, and I think he’s got a good expectation of that,” Gannon said.
Murray put together a solid 2022 season before going down with a torn ACL. In 11 games, he completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,368 yards and 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions, in addition to rushing for 418 yards and three scores.
The 26-year-old’s return to the lineup is a huge boost for the Cardinals, which are fourth in the NFC West with a 1-8 record.
Arizona relied on Josh Dobbs under center through the first eight weeks of the season before turning to rookie Clayton Tune in Week 9. With Murray’s return expected, the Cardinals traded Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings at the Oct. 31 deadline.
While Murray is currently QB1, there has been speculation about his future in Arizona with the Cardinals expected to receive a top pick in the 2024 draft and the potential to select one of the top signal-callers in USC’s Caleb Williams or UNC’s Drake Maye.
That said, Murray will have the remainder of the 2023 campaign to prove that he can still be the team’s starter and be the same player he was before tearing his ACL.