Rams quarterback Sam Bradford returned to Oklahoma for his junior season, even though he might have been the top pick in the draft after his sophomore year.
That said, he still thinks he did the right thing coming back, and counseled current Sooners quarterback Landry Jones to trust himself when making a similar call.
“Obviously, it was his decision. If he feels like he made the right decision, then he did,” Bradford said of Jones. “I remember going through that process and people were telling me, ‘You should leave,’ or, ‘You should stay.’ At the end of the day, I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter what you think because you’re not the one who is going to live it.’
“I’m excited that he’s back. I think he’s a great player and I’m looking forward to seeing them play this year. Hopefully, they go all the way and win the national championship.”
Bradford could have been the top pick in 2009, after winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Sooners to the national title game. Instead, he went back to school, injured his shoulder in the opener and missed most of his junior season. It didn’t hurt his stock, as he was still the first pick in 2010.
“I know coming back was the complete right decision for me. There’s no way I was ready to leave college after two and half years,” Bradford said Wednesday at his football camp back in Oklahoma.
“Even though I came back and got hurt, the experience that I gained in that extra year was invaluable. There’s no way I would have been able to step into an NFL huddle and lead an NFL team at 21 years old.”
Of course, it’s easy for Bradford to tell players to stay in school now, as he was the last one to cash the golden ticket that used to come along with the top of the first round.
He signed a six-year, $78 million contract with $50 million guaranteed. By contrast, the 2011 first overall pick, Cam Newton, signed a four-year deal worth $22 million. The extra year in school might have helped Bradford, but it wouldn’t have been worth $56 million.