Bradford “All For” the Pope Blessing His Knee

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Pope Francis to bless Sam Bradford‘s knees when he visits Philadelphia. After today’s practice, Bradford was told about it and offered his support.

“If I got to meet the Pope, I think that’d be pretty cool,” he said. “If he wanted to bless my knees, then all I’m for it.”

Whether Bradford gets that opportunity or not, he doesn’t think about his knee on the field anymore. He’s also happy with his mechanics nearly a year after re-tearing his left ACL.

“Initially I was a little, not worried, but you thought about the knee the first couple steps you took on the field. It just feels like normal now,” Bradford said. “I feel like the ball is coming out well right now. I feel like it’s got good velocity on it. ”

With outside doctors having signed off on his knee, Bradford is cleared to debut Sunday. While Chip Kelly was non-committal in how much his starting quarterback would play in the preseason opener, Bradford said he’d be disappointed if he sat the entire game.

“I think it’d just make me more anxious for the second game,” he said. “I kind of went through that last year when I was in St. Louis. [Rams Head] Coach [Jeff] Fisher decided to hold me out of the first preseason game. You get those butterflies any time you start to get to play again and to have to wait another week to play, the buildup obviously intensifies and you just get a little more anxious to get out there.

“For me, I think that I need to get back on the field and get those reps. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken live team reps. Now whether that happens in the first game, second game, the third game, the fourth game, that’s completely up to coach. But I think it’s definitely beneficial for me to get out there.”

If he does play, Bradford’s biggest target would likely be Jordan Matthews. The new quarterback praised the second-year receiver’s size and strength.

“A guy that big typically doesn’t play in the slot and the fact that we use him in the slot is really advantageous to us. It makes it really easy on the quarterback to have a tight end and Jordan running down the seems,” Bradford said. “It’s just a credit to the way he works. That guy catches more footballs than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Bradford mentioned that he’s happy with his chemistry with the receivers, but he’d like to work more with them more in red zone situations. He’s also concentrating on throws to his left where he has to open up his hip so he doesn’t aggravate his knee.

His biggest focus, however, remains on one element he can’t simulate in practice.

“The game speed is the biggest thing,” Bradford said. “For all quarterbacks, whether you’re coming off an injury or not, you go through training camp, you go through OTAs and you never get hit. Getting back out there, taking a hit, going to the ground, getting up and playing the next play, I think that’s a hurdle every year that everyone has to overcome.”