Just like every other quarterback (and to a greater extent, every professional athlete), Sam Bradford can’t control the professional expectations hovering over his head every second of every day.
He can’t control his team’s decision to stick by his side while Robert Griffin III patiently waited behind Door #1. He can’t control that the six-year, $78 million contract he signed was the largest ever for an NFL rookie; that when he was drafted the league’s salary structure allowed rookies to sign insanely lucrative deals, and that thanks to a change in the rookie pay scale the following season, his deal will likely stay atop that list forever. (Cam Newton’s rookie deal the following year was for a milder $22 million over four years).
Most importantly, Bradford can’t control that when his name is uttered in an East Missouri bar or fantasy draft chat room, that the first thing 95% of people involved will think of is his injury-plagued sophomore season.
Up to this point, that year has come to define Bradford’s three-year career. Not winning Rookie of the Year. Not winning the Heisman Trophy. Not throwing just 13 interceptions in 2012, or throwing three touchdowns on the Washington Redskins (and RGIII) in a 31-28 Week 2 victory, or completing 66.6% of 39 attempts in a 16-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Bradford’s career is badly bruised by that porous 2011 campaign, and to a certain degree it’s maddening.no comments