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Sam Bradford says he didn’t stay in school to avoid Lions

Sam Bradford AP

When the Lions secured the first overall pick of the 2009 draft thanks to their 0-16 season, early buzz had them looking at Sam Bradford with the pick.

Bradford had just won the Heisman Trophy as Oklahoma’s quarterback and it seemed that, at worst, he’d be the favorite over Matthew Stafford when it came time for the Lions to hand in their pick. But Bradford decided to remain for his senior season and wound up going first overall to the Rams the next season.

Some wondered if Bradford’s choice was impacted by his desire to play for a team that wasn’t coming off of a winless season. With the Rams facing the Lions this Sunday, that episode has bubbled back to the surface and Bradford was asked about it on Wednesday.

“None at all,” Bradford said, via Justin Rogers of MLive.com. “I went back to school just because I felt I wasn’t ready for the NFL. At that point I had only played two seasons. I think I was still 20, 21 years old. I just felt I could really use another year in school to mature, both physically and mentally. Even though I cam back and got hurt, I still feel that year helped me develop as a person.”

It worked out pretty well all around. The Lions wound up with Stafford and got Ndamukong Suh with the second pick in 2010 because Bradford’s presence meant he wasn’t going first overall and those two played a big role in getting the Lions back to the playoffs. Bradford almost got there as a rookie while winning the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and his future remains bright despite an injury-plagued 2011 season.

Thinking about the alternate history of the NFL if Bradford went to Detroit makes for a fun game of “What If?” although we doubt that either team would want to make a change in hindsight.

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28 Responses to “Sam Bradford says he didn’t stay in school to avoid Lions”
  1. bigdawg24 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:49 AM

    Too bad he couldn’t avoid the St Louis Lambs…..

  2. m2karateman says: Sep 6, 2012 10:56 AM

    I’m sure the Jets would have preferred Bradford had come out that year. Then they wouldn’t have gotten stuck taking Sanchez. They would have had their choice of Bradford or Stafford…whoever the Lions passed over.

  3. lionsmark09 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:57 AM

    He can say thay it didn’t matter all he wants. We all know the truth. He pulled an Eli. It all worked in the Lions favor though. The verdict is still out on the Rams.

  4. herwordskillyou says: Sep 6, 2012 10:58 AM

    Dude is a bust. Lions should be happy he didn’t want to play for them.

  5. cantonbound13 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:00 AM

    If it was Jeff Ireland & the Dolphins at #1 I’d understand if he stayed in school.

  6. tdk24 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:03 AM

    If he did stay in school to avoid playing for the Lions, karma is a biatch! The Rams are bad bad bad. We all know the reason he stayed in school is because the Lions wouldn’t be able to match the money he got at OU.

  7. spellingcopfather says: Sep 6, 2012 11:07 AM

    If jamarcus russell thought like Sam, then Calvin Johnson would currently be a Raider, DAMN!!!

  8. green41563 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:17 AM

    Listen, I understand how funny and cool and mature it is to call someone a bust as soon as he doesn’t throw for 30 TDs as a second-year-player. I get that. It’s awesome. Plus, it shows off your deep knowledge of football.

    But here’s something to consider. Eli Manning didn’t have a passer rating over 77 (!) until his fifth year in the league.

    Heck, after 10 years in the league, John Elway had 183 TDs against 182 INTs.

    So although it’s awesome and cool to start judging players five minutes after they’re drafted, it’s really not that bright.

  9. hellafiedfc says: Sep 6, 2012 11:24 AM

    Shenanigans!!! the Lions were perennial Losers at that time coming off the first 0-16 season. I’m sure he was advised to stay in school. next season, as soon as he got hurt, he shut it down. it was KARMA. I’m just happy how it worked out…Bradford isnt Half the quarterback that Stafford is and we got Suh as well…and bradford still ended up on a rebuilding team….

  10. jesse834 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:30 AM

    Dude is a bust. Lions should be happy he didn’t want to play for them.

    SMH, dude is a bust after two years in the NFL. Ok makes perfect sense…….

  11. aberystwyth2 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:32 AM

    tdk24 says:

    If he did stay in school to avoid playing for the Lions, karma is a biatch! The Rams are bad bad bad. We all know the reason he stayed in school is because the Lions wouldn’t be able to match the money he got at OU.
    ———————————-

    yes Karma is a “biatch” therefore when the soul of Sam Bradford enters its next body he will pay for what his present football playing body did to the Lions

  12. oneandonlyramsfaninpa says: Sep 6, 2012 11:49 AM

    how can ppl say that Bradford is a bust given that he only played one full season? and if u remember, he played that season very well (offensive rookie of the year). broke the rookie record for complections without a interception too that year. yes Stafford is a good qb, but remember the talk of him being a bust when he got hurt? so shut up until you know what you’re talking about!

  13. schmitty2 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:52 AM

    herwordskillyou says:Sep 6, 2012 10:58 AM

    Dude is a bust. Lions should be happy he didn’t want to play for them.

    Rookie of the year and was hurt half his second year playing behind the worst O-line in football and he’s a bust?? Come on man!!

  14. zinn22 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:54 AM

    That would have left the Jets with Stafford or Bradford either of which would have immeasurably changed the Jets franchise. The Jets might won 2 super bowls if they did not have Sanchez as QB. Sanchez would likely be out of the league now if not drafted by the Jets.

    Although the Browns asking price might have been a lot higher as other teams may have wanted to trade up as well. Probably to high for the Jets.

    The Jets are haunted by what ifs. What if they took Marino over O’Brien. What if the Cards had not backed out of their draft day trade and the Jets had drafted Favre. What if Parcells had guaranteed Archie he would take Peyton number 1 in 1997? What if the Jets had selected Rice over Toon? Now what if we had gotten Stafford.

  15. rajbais says: Sep 6, 2012 11:54 AM

    Matt Millen left before you declared to stay, you idiot!!!!

    Oh yeah!!! I’ll not take Calvin Johnson and take Josh McDaniels and an O-Line that gets the crap beat out of me!!!!

    Sam Bradford = Pre-2011 version of Alex Smith!!!

  16. gojags says: Sep 6, 2012 12:00 PM

    Bradford is overrated and often injured player. He has a knack of getting injured which is not good for any player especially in the Position he is playing.

    Sometimes I don’t get it, when media keeps banging the drum that so-and-so (Bradford) is a good player and so forth. Its still not known until he can consistently prove so. Gabbert for instance is been banged as a bad player bad mechanics etc. I feel the media influences to a degree what kind of player he is. (e.g) Vince Young. First few years we had a feeling that VY is next Tom Brady and so forth. where is he now? The media makes up the story for their benefit.

  17. webofbelief says: Sep 6, 2012 12:08 PM

    <>

    I like Stafford a lot and prefer him over Bradford, but if you’re going to compare, you need to at least acknowledge that Bradford doesn’t have anyone to throw the ball to like Calvin Johnson. Also, both players have had injury problems, with Bradford playing with an injury for a significant part of last season. Stafford had injuries the two years prior to last season, so it’s not entirely fair to compare Bradford’s injury season to Stafford’s one relatively injury-free year.

  18. randallflagg52 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:11 PM

    This guy is two years into the NFL and he already looks like Marc Bulger and David Carr after they took too many shots from defenses. That kind of damage is irreversable. It’s not long before we have another Jim “Chris” Everett on our hands here.

  19. agelardi says: Sep 6, 2012 12:15 PM

    “I think I was still 20, 21 years old.”

    He doesn’t remember how old he was in college? Man, maybe too many blows to the head.

  20. funktron2x says: Sep 6, 2012 12:28 PM

    Stafford would have been the first pick over Bradford regardless. But thanks for staying in school anyway, Sam. Suh was a nice acquisition. :-)

  21. footballchic777 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:55 PM

    You mean someone would do this to avoid a team like Andrew Luck did with the Carolina Panthers? It is their prerogative, and I bet Luck never figured he would end up in Indy!

  22. ramofsteel says: Sep 6, 2012 1:29 PM

    Yeah and “what if” Stafford never got hurt? Suh wouldn’t be in Detroit.

  23. skrappie32 says: Sep 6, 2012 2:37 PM

    Judging playes is what we all do that’s part of the game or if thats not the case then we don’t need cometatiors during the game anymore we can just watch it areselfs and no long form any oppions on are own ok guy and become robots.

  24. thehighhat says: Sep 6, 2012 2:42 PM

    Detroit is thanking their lucky stars that Bradford snubbed them, because he isn’t half the QB Stafford is. Think Megatron would have those numbers with a career Captain Checkdown?

  25. rangers84 says: Sep 6, 2012 9:44 PM

    Yeah, because Stafford was lighting the NFL in his first 2 seasons. Bradford as shown far more potential than Stafford did in their respective first 2 seasons.

    Amazed at the arrogance of Lions fans. They have one, that is ONE, good season this century and all of a sudden they’re this dominant team.

  26. staffordsyear says: Sep 6, 2012 10:28 PM

    I couldnt be happier how things turned out..if karmas real then bradford will find out in a big way on sunday.

    Go lions!

  27. 989lions says: Sep 7, 2012 12:28 PM

    rangers84 i agree that some of us lions fans have gotten arrogant and that you cannot label bradford a bust at this point in his career. but you cannot possibly in your heart of hearts believe that bradford has shown more promise than stafford. i remember when his rookie year stafford threw for 5 TD’s and 400+ yards (rookie record at the tiem) and won the with a dislocated shoulder…bradfords shinning moment was throwing tons of screens and checkdowns for that record he holds….

  28. spaniard42 says: Sep 8, 2012 5:02 PM

    Really, Matthew Stafford is better thn Sam Bradfotd!? Are you kidding me!? Stafford couldn’t even finish a season until last year. Lions fans were calling him a bust until last year and every time he took a hit all of Detroit cringed and held their breath. I’m willing to bet that Staffords season was a fluke along with Alex Smith’s, they’ll show their old colors again this year…if Stafford lasts long enough.

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