It’s safe to say that Sam Bradford is going to be a “What If” story when it’s all said and done. Tearing his ACL for the second time in less than a year probably means another lost season for the St. Louis Rams and maybe the end of a career for a talented quarterback who never really got it going without some injury interrupting him.
Bradford missed nine games last season because of an ACL tear. The Rams looked like another NFC West team that are ready to make some noise heading into this season, but a tackle from Armonty Bryant probably put an end to those hopes. Bradford, the first overall selection in the 2010 draft, went down. The initial reports and rumors suggested something minor, but that was just false hope and a smoke screen. He is out for another year, no doubt about it.
Bradford has to be crushed. Injuries take a toll on the mind and soul as well. There’s a fat salary to comfort the player, but he isn’t in this just to get paid. Fulfilling yourself and doing well for a team that had so much riding on you is part of an NFL player’s achievement shortlist. Bradford’s injury just put a very big distance between him and fulfilling some of the goals he set out for himself to achieve.
And then there are the Rams and their problems. Jeff Fisher now has to find a quarterback to fill in for Bradford. Right now Shaun Hill is the first in line behind Bradford on the quarterback depth chart, but listening to the head coach makes it seem like the Rams are waiting for teams to cut some players before the season begins, because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of faith in Hill to be able to keep the Rams from falling apart.
A solid team with a very good defense has been slowly built in St. Louis over the last few years by Fisher. He improved the defense while taking care of the offensive line issues that seemed to be plaguing Bradford through his first two or three years in the NFL. Last season looked better until he got injured seven games through. This season? Even bigger promises and expectations, and a bigger crash when his ACL tore for a second time.
It’s been a very long time since the Rams have been linked with success. Some mistakes were made along the way of coming back. Who knows, maybe taking Bradford as the number one pick in 2010 was one of them. But this franchise has been gearing towards success, building around Bradford, convinced they have a quarterback to rely on. His preseason injury was another painful blow, one that the Rams will eventually recover from. Bradford himself? Probably not.