KANSAS CITY, Mo. – While his buddies were bunking down to watch Jack Bauer on “24,” or cruising through channels in search of a game, Aaron Murray was settling in for another episode of “The Bachelorette.”
Yep, ABC’s reality dating show is must-see TV for the Chiefs’ rookie quarterback.
Don’t judge. Tampa native and Plant High School graduate Murray isn’t your everyday fan. He has a rooting interest in bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s much-publicized pursuit of love because his brother, former minor league baseball player Josh Murray, is one of the eight beaus still in the mix.
“It’s all craziness, but a lot of fun,” Aaron Murray told The Associated Press, one day after his brother received another rose to stay on the show. “Monday nights are crazy, my phone is blowing up with friends and family talking about what he’s doing.
“And I always give him a hard time,” Aaron added. “There was a time where he was stuttering on the TV, and I was like, ‘Josh, c’mon man, I didn’t teach you that.”’
The younger of the brothers, Aaron is no stranger to the spotlight. The former Georgia star finished his college career holding SEC records for completions, yards passing, touchdown passes and total offense, parlaying all that success into a shot to play for the Chiefs.
But now he’s sweating through a series of sweltering practices, all in relative obscurity, and then tuning in at night to see his brother singing with Boyz II Men, or playing a pickup basketball game with WNBA players, or traipsing around Marseille, France, on a romantic one-on-one date.
That happened on the most recent episode Monday night, when Murray and Dorfman – an attorney from Atlanta – sailed in the Mediterranean and spent a cozy dinner at Palais Longchamp.
“It’s just been funny,” Aaron said, when asked to separate the fact from fiction. “The show is true. He hasn’t dated for like, six years, so to see him googly over a girl is funny to watch.”
Like his younger brother, Josh grew up playing sports. But it was baseball that turned out to be his first love. He was chosen out of Tampa’s Jesuit High School by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 2002 draft, but fizzled out after several years in the minor leagues. He later enrolled at Georgia and spent two seasons playing safety while Aaron was becoming the star quarterback.
And while “The Bachelorette” keeps listing Josh’s career as “former pro baseball player,” his brother just laughed at the suggestion that it must be code for “unemployed.”
“He’s a financial adviser now,” Aaron said. “I don’t know why they heck they want the whole athlete thing. I think because they’re playing off the kind of guy she’s dated before.”
Aaron isn’t the only Chiefs player keeping tabs on the “The Bachelorette,” either. Second-year safety Sanders Commings was a teammate of both Murray brothers at Georgia. Asked how the younger Murray would fare on the show, Commings broke into a grin.
“Probably just as good as Josh,” he replied. “They’re just about the same person.”
The younger Murray is careful to avoid spilling any secrets. Along with the rest of his family, he was required to sign an extensive contract barring him from revealing too much.
How much trouble would he get into for violating it?
“A lot,” he said. “About 5 million dollars’ worth of troubles.”
The truth is while Aaron may know how far his brother goes on the show, most of what transpires he is seeing for the first time. Josh had no cell phone access during filming, and the producers did their best to limit the amount of contact the gentlemen have with the outside world.
“It’s all new for me,” he said. “What I’m watching is what everyone else is watching.”
On the Net:
ABC’s “The Bachelorette”: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelorette