Rickey Henderson: Al Davis would have let me be a two-way player but A's nixed the idea

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he had been looking forward to working with Kyler Murray, the A's 2018 top draft pick.

"We were all gung-ho to see him here -- especially me," Henderson told Slusser. "You know me -- I was like, 'Who's like me? Let me see him!'"

Murray received comparisons to Henderson for his power and speed. But his MLB career was sidelined after winning the Heisman Trophy. Murray officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and then on Feb. 11, he announced full commitment to a professional football career.

Henderson, a two-sport star at Oakland Tech High School, understands Murray's dilemma. Henderson was recruited to be a tailback and play baseball at USC and Arizona, among others, Slusser reports. But he ultimately chose baseball in support of his mother, Bobbie.

"Football was my love; I was a football player," Henderson told Slusser. "But my mom's love was baseball. And she didn't want her baby to get hurt. I was mad, but she was smart. Overall, with the career longevity and the success I had, she made the right decision. Some of the players in football now have short careers and they can barely move around when they're done."

Henderson also spoke with Slusser about approaching former Raiders general manager Al Davis about the possibility of playing for his favorite team growing up while he was with the Athletics:

"When Bo Jackson first came into the league, I went to Al Davis to go play football and he was going to let me be a two-way player," Henderson said. "The Oakland A's said, 'Oh, no way. You're not going out there. That's not going to happen.'

"That was my chance and I missed it. I always used to tell Bo and Deion Sanders, 'I could have done that, played both sports, but the A's said they weren't going to let me.' That was my dream."

The A's still retain Murray's rights in case his football career doesn't work out, or if he wants to take a shot at a professional career in both sports.

"I'm not going to say he made the right decision or the wrong decision," Henderson told Slusser. "If he makes it in football, he made the right decision. If he doesn't, he can always come back to baseball ... So he can see if it works out with his love, and if not, he can fall back on baseball."

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