Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sooners' QB Bradford To Have Season Ending Surgery

By Ross Everett

Oklahoma's junior quarterback Sam Bradford will likely opt for season ending shoulder surgery. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was to announce his plans at a Wednesday night press conference, but that has been canceled with no official word from Bradford expected before Saturday. Despite the delay, unnamed sources close to the situation indicate that there is "a very good chance" that Bradford will go under the knife in hopes of insuring a better opportunity with a NFL team next season.

Despite every indication that the decision to undergo surgery to repair an injured AC joint in his throwing shoulder is to eliminate the potential perception that he is 'damaged goods' in advance of the NFL draft, University officials stressed that there has been no official decision in this regard. He passed on the NFL draft last year in hopes to win a national championship at Oklahoma.

On Wednesday, Sooners' coach Bob Stoops addressed the media about Bradford and the canceled press conference:

"He just wasn't ready to fully answer everything that'll want to be asked and for sure what he wants to do just yet, until he has a few more people to visit with. That's it. I won't say another word about it."

"Sam's whole situation, he'll have something to say when he knows what his path will be, and that isn't right now. I'm not the one to answer it. He will. And I will once he feels he's ready to and knows for sure what he wants to do."

Bradford had hoped to contend for a national title this season, but that is no longer a realistic scenario with Oklahoma's 3-3 record. OU quarterbacks' coach Josh Heupeltalked about the conflicting issues that Bradford is currently dealing with as he tries to decide what the best course of action to take is:

"I think it's extremely difficult for him, coming back for all the right reasons, wanting to have an opportunity to go compete on the football field, compete for championships and then having all those things taken away from you. There's a lot of hard work that goes into it and when you invest that much, it's going to be extremely disappointing. It's not an easy situation for him, certainly."

Despite their 3-3 record, Oklahoma has played well this year. The losses came to top level opponents BYU, Miami and Texas by a total of five points. Still, barring a cataclysmic collapse by higher ranked teams of historic proportions there's no real hope for a return to national championship contention.

Had Bradford opted to go to the NFL last season, he could have been one of the highest players selected in the draft. He had a monumental season last year, throwing for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns. With his struggles this season and his injury, his future at the next level has grown somewhat more problematic. He could elect for surgery and opt for the draft this season, realizing that he'd be viewed as something of a 'risky choice'. Otherwise he could return for his senior season in hopes of improving his stock though that is always a dicey proposition due to the risk of additional injury.

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