The Philadelphia Eagles look set to roll with Sam Bradford as starting quarterback for the 2015 NFL season, but a new report today has revealed just how close that statement came to being impossible.
Speaking to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bradford's former QB coach at Oklahoma University, Josh Heupel, explained how he talked the injury-plagued star out of quitting the NFL all together at the turn of the year.
After two torn ACLs in as many seasons Bradford was at a career low point when Heupel got in touch. Had he not, then the crazy offseason trade that saw the QB arrive in Philly from the St. Louis Rams would never have been possible. Bradford after all admitted in December that he simply did not want to return at one stage.
"It was one of those moments where, after all the time and energy and passion that he poured into rehabilitating himself in the first injury, you feel like you're snakebitten," Heupel said when explaining Bradford's thought process following his second ACL tear.
"You don't know when, if, or how your body is going to respond and what your next opportunity is. You're really just in a lot of limbo. Sometimes, I think, just having a voice from an outside perspective is something that can be valuable."
Getting in touch
After having helped Bradford to a Heisman trophy in his final year at Oklahoma, Josh Heupel was one of many who looked on with anger and frustration as the once promising quarterback saw injury set back after injury set back.
Indeed, Bradford's injury record - he has played just eight games over the past two seasons - continues to cause concern to Eagles fans as they prepare for the 2015 season.
Heupel though revealed just what he said to the QB to ensure that he would even be around to suit up come September.
"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.'"
Taking a chance
Of course, even if Sam Bradford now wants to play every game possible in the NFL no one yet can be certain that his body will allow it.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has taken a gamble on the former number overall pick and, as with much of Philadelphia's offseason work, fans are crossing their fingers that it pays off.
The mere fact that Sam Bradford came this close to calling time on his career though won't exactly fill those fans with hope. Having strongly considered retirement just three months ago, can the QBs mind truly be focussed on the task at hand?
What do you think Eagles fans? Is Sam Bradford the man to take your team to the next level, or is he a disaster waiting to happen? Let us know in the comments section below...
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