Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t played an NFL game since Week 7 of the 2013 season.
He suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter of that game.
Less than a year later, in a 2014 preseason game, he tore his ACL again.
After that second major injury he considered retiring from the game for good at age 26, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in December of 2014.
“There was part of me for a couple days where I was done with football. I didn’t want to come back. I didn’t want to play. I was tired of rehabbing. I was just tired of the process,” he said.
Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Bradford changed his mind and chose to continue his career after speaking with Josh Heupel, his old quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma University.
Heupel explained what he told his former player in an interview with Philly.com:
“When a player goes through a big letdown, it’s natural to be down. I just tried to reach out to him and say, ‘Hey, I still see this in you as a person and a player. I think the best is yet to come for you. You’ve got to get yourself healthy and get yourself back on the field and get yourself in the right environment with the right people and the right supporting cast around you, and there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll achieve the things you’re capable of achieving and want to achieve.'”
Bradford, of course, didn’t retire in 2014, but he did miss the entire season with the St. Louis Rams. In 2015, the Eagles traded for Bradford, sending quarterback Nick Foles, a 2015 fourth round pick, and a 2016 second round pick to the Rams.
The price the Eagles paid to get Bradford suggests he’ll start this season, but there are still lingering rumours that the Eagles could use Bradford as part of a package to get Marcus Mariota in the draft.
Regardless of where he’s playing, this may be the biggest year of Bradford’s career. Bradford is in the final year of a monster six-year, $US78 million contract, due $US13 million this season. Bradford’s career earnings are over $US65 million, and when he’s been healthy, he’s been effective in spots. Heupel told Sielski that he thinks Chip Kelly’s fast-paced, quarterback-friendly system will benefit Bradford this season.
Shaking the “bust” label, especially as a former No. 1 pick, is difficult. After horrible injury luck over the last two seasons, he now has a chance to turn around his career.
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