Byron Murphy’s biggest fan on Sunday will also be his smallest.
The Arizona native left the Valley to play college football at the University of Washington, which proved to be a smart career move. However, the distance prevented his young son, Malakai -- who remained in Phoenix -- from attending many games.
There will be no such professional hurdle after the Cardinals drafted the cornerback in the second round in April, bringing him back home and allowing two-year-old Malakai to be a regular presence at State Farm Stadium.
“He got season tickets,” said Murphy, eyes beaming. “He’ll be at every game.”
If Murphy was drafted anywhere else, he wasn’t going to ask Malakai to move with him.
“If I was to go away, I’d see him less because I want to keep him in the same school, have him grow up here, do all those things,” Murphy said.
Now it’s the best of both worlds for father and son. Murphy has joined an ideal situation with the Cardinals, playing in front of friends and alongside former high school teammate Christian Kirk and former college teammates Budda Baker and Ezekiel Turner.
But the best part is being near Malakai, who, even at the age of 2, has a good understanding of his father’s profession.
“He actually does,” Murphy said. “Say I’m watching the game. He will say, ‘Football. Dada.’ I’m like, ‘OK, yeah.’ And then I’ll be like, ‘Down,’ and he’ll get down, run and try to tackle me.”