From Sabercat to Cardinal: CB Byron Murphy destined to wear red No. 7

Sep 29, 2021, 2:43 PM
Byron Murphy being honored as Cardinals High School Player of the Year alongside owner Michael Bidw...
Byron Murphy being honored as Cardinals High School Player of the Year alongside owner Michael Bidwill in 2015. (Twitter Photo/@CardsMarkD)
(Twitter Photo/@CardsMarkD)

TEMPE — Before he ever knew he would don a Cardinals jersey, or make it to the NFL for that matter, cornerback Byron Murphy was already on the team’s radar.

Being a standout athlete in the team’s backyard will have that effect.

Murphy’s play was another level during his senior year at Saguaro High School, so much so that he was named Cardinals High School Player of the Year. He was honored with a No. 7 Cardinals jersey from none other than owner Michael Bidwill during an Arizona game back in 2015.

Now, five years later, Murphy is being recognized for his efforts at the NFL level wearing that same red No. 7, taking home NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors thanks to a two-interception performance in the Cardinals’ 31-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3.

It’s the first time in franchise history that a player has won both the Cardinals’ yearly high school and NFC Player of the Week honors.

“The first thing I remember was when he gave me the jersey at halftime of the Cardinals game, he gave me a No. 7 jersey,” Murphy said after practice Wednesday. “I still have it to this day.

“I was like, ‘Man, if I ever get drafted to the Cardinals, I wanna wear No. 7. It’s crazy how everything happened like that.”

It’s even more special to do it alongside former high school teammate and Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who made his way to the Cardinals a year before Murphy.

“It’s something that I never take for granted,” Kirk said Tuesday, “I’m so happy and so proud of Byron and seeing how far he’s come. I remember the first day he showed up at Saguaro. [Head coach] Jason Mohns brought him to the weight room, brought him over to my rack that I was working out at and said, ‘This is your guy, this is your project for the next year. Wherever you go, whatever you do, he does. You make sure you don’t take an eye off of him.’

“That was my littler brother from that day on and just made sure to do everything that I could to help him along the way. He’s done that, if not more, on his own.”

The duo has come on strong this season, with Murphy the only defensive back in the league with five passes defensed (leads NFL) and two interceptions.

Meanwhile, Kirk is posting one of the top receiving grades handed out by Pro Football Focus (90.5) through three weeks of NFL action. The wideout only trails the Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams (90.7) in that category.

“To have C-Kirk with me, it’s a blessing because I went to high school with him,” Murphy said. “I transferred and that was someone who I looked up to like a big brother.

“When I got there at Saguaro my junior year, he’s someone that just brought me in and showed me the ropes of the program and all those little things on the football field, off the football field.”

Arizona Cardinals

(HBO Photo)...
Tyler Drake

HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks In Season’ to feature Cardinals

The Cardinals will be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks In Season' for 2022, becoming the second NFL team to do so for the midseason series.
14 hours ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Rams in t...
Arizona Sports

Kyler Murray not at Cardinals OTAs, expected at mandatory camp

ESPN's Adam Schefter added there is no news on the contract front regarding Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.
14 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is congratulated by tight end Maxx Williams (87) aft...
Arizona Sports

NFL Network’s Frelund leaves Cardinals off list of top NFL offenses

The Arizona Cardinals have not had a top-10 scoring offense since head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray arrived in 2019.
2 days ago
New Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown answers a question at a news conference at the C...
Tom Kuebel

Arizona Cardinals’ Hollywood Brown could be next in line for big contract

The Cardinals made one of the most surprising moves on draft day by trading out of the first round for receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
3 days ago
Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs as he is chased by Ricky Miezan #45 of the Stanford Car...
Arizona Sports’s Reuter: Cardinals’ Ingram among late picks with chance to start

NFL Network draft analyst Chad Reuter placed Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram on a list of Day 3 picks with a chance to start games in 2022.
3 days ago
J.J. Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates in the second quarter against the Houston Texans ...
Arizona Sports

Seven words or less: The Arizona Cardinals’ 2022 schedule

Cardinals Corner co-hosts Tyler Drake and Erik Ruby took a look at each of Arizona's matchups in -- you guessed it -- seven words or less.
4 days ago
From Sabercat to Cardinal: CB Byron Murphy destined to wear red No. 7