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What Kyler Murray said before his first start in 11 months

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback will start against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday — his first game since he tore his ACL last season

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray watches warm ups prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray watches warm ups prior to an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz.

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray will make his first start since tearing his ACL last December on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon announced the news on Friday, according to Arizona Sports.

Four different quarterbacks — Trace McSorely, David Blough, Joshua Dobbs and Clayton Tune — have started in Murray’s place since he went down 11 months ago.

Dobbs started eight of Arizona’s games this season before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he went in for an injured Jaren Hall last weekend.

Murray could have been activated off injured reserve to start last week against the Browns, but the Cardinals elected to give him more time and instead started Tune, who is a rookie.

How and when was Kyler Murray injured?

In December, Murray suffered a non-contact ACL tear while scrambling on the third play of the Cardinals’ game against the New England Patriots, according to NFL.com.

He underwent surgery to repair the torn ACL in his right knee on Jan. 3, per the Cardinals.

What did Kyler Murray say about his first start?

Murray told reporters Thursday in a press conference that he is keeping his emotions in check and feels “emotionless” heading into the game.

“At the end of the day, we’re playing football. It’s a blessing to be able to be out there with my teammates and move around and run, walk,” he said, according to Arizona Sports. “It was a long, long 10 months (since surgery). I (have) never dealt with that before, so doing the same thing every day, trying to get better each and every day, sometimes not feeling good, sometimes feeling better, to now be here, it’s a good feeling.”

Known for his mobility and elusiveness, Murray says he trusts his knee will hold up when he takes off for the first time Sunday and isn’t entertaining any doubts in his head.

“If I was thinking about (doubts) right now, I wouldn’t be out here,” he said. “In order for myself to get better, I have to trust it. If the doctor tells me I’m good, if Buddy (Morris, the team’s reconditioning coordinator) tells me I’m good then we’re good. But as far as being scared, you get one day of reps to be kind of hesitant. After that we got to go. That was kind of the mindset.”

Gannon tried to temper expectations for Murray when talking with reporters Monday, saying the quarterback “might not look like (pre-ACL tear) Kyler,” according to ESPN.

When asked what he thought of what Gannon said, Murray said he laughed when Gannon told him.

“I understand the thought process, but every time I touch the field, I’m trying to do my thing. That’s win and do it at a high level,” he said, per Arizona Sports.

Will the Cardinals draft a quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft?

Since Murray went down, the Cardinals fired general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury and hired general manager Monti Ossenfort and Gannon in their places.

Murray will now have a chance to prove he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback and convince Ossenfort and Gannon that they don’t need to draft a quarterback next offseason.

The Cardinals currently have the second overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft and could take one of the top quarterback prospects: Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, according to USA Today.