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TEMPE, Ariz. — For the past week, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown had a secret he couldn’t tell one of his closest friends, Kyler Murray: He might get traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
Murray tried to squeeze any tidbit of information out of Brown about the possibility of a trade that would eventually send the wide receiver from the Baltimore Ravens to the Cardinals, even as the two were working out together in Dallas. But as the Ravens tried to figure out a landing spot for Brown, he kept playing dumb with Murray. Whenever Murray tried to summon his inner reporter, Brown always had the same response: “I don’t know, Kyler. I’m trying to find out.”
But Brown knew all along a trade to Arizona was in the works. Even after it was finalized but before it was made public, Brown still kept it from Murray.
“I could have [told him], but I kind of wanted it to be a surprise for him as well,” Brown said during his introductory news conference in Arizona on Friday. “He knew it possibly could happen, but he didn’t know it actually did happen.”
Now the two are reunited for the first time since 2018, when they played together at Oklahoma. It wasn’t long after that season that they started discussing the idea of playing together in the NFL. It just took three years to finally happen.
After Murray returned to the green room at the 2019 NFL draft in Nashville, Tennessee, Brown, who was still on the board after falling because of a foot injury, told the quarterback to tell the Cardinals to trade back into the first round to draft him. Murray said he would after the next pick, which the Ravens used to take Brown.
Their NFL reunion was put on ice.
However, it became a possibility again after last season, when Brown asked the Ravens to trade him. Brown told SiriusXM that he wanted to end up in Arizona. The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers — the team he thought he would go to in 2019 — were involved in trade talks as well, Brown said, but he knew where his ideal destination was.
“I always wanted it to be here,” Brown said. “Me and Kyler talked about it back in January, February, and for it to actually happen, it’s pretty crazy.”
Marquise Brown and Kyler Murray are ready to revive a quarterback-wide receiver tandem that started at Oklahoma. Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports
On top of being reunited with Murray, Brown will play in an offense that’s “pretty similar” to one he ran at Oklahoma. Brown also was recruited by Kliff Kingsbury when he was the coach at Texas Tech and had 125 yards and a touchdown in two wins over the Red Raiders.
Even though Brown started hearing last week that the trade might happen, he still didn’t think it was possible.
“I was blessed for the opportunity for it all come back full circle,” he said. “It’s pretty good.”
Brown goes from one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL in Lamar Jackson to another in Murray.
“They’re both passionate about the game,” Brown said. “That’s what got me and Lamar so close. They’re passionate, they want to win, and they’re each one of a kind. There’s nobody like Lamar Jackson. There’s nobody like Kyler Murray.”
But leaving Jackson wasn’t easy for Brown.
“It was very tough,” Brown said. “That was one of the toughest things was leaving Lamar. I talked to him. He understood, and we still cool at the end of the day.”
There was one point this offseason when Brown had some pause about whether he would play with Murray in Arizona.
As the offseason drama surrounding a potential extension for Murray unfolded this offseason — including the quarterback scrubbing his Instagram page, the letter from his agent saying they made a detailed contract proposal to the Cardinals and Murray tweeting that he wants to win a Super Bowl in Arizona — Brown said he watched like everyone else. He requested his trade before all of Murray’s hoopla started. When it did, he called Murray and asked: “Hey, what’s going on?”
Now, though, he is confident Murray isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m pretty sure you know he loves it here, and I know they love him,” Brown said. “So they’ll figure it out.”