Sam Bradford: Pederson’s QB Experience ‘Huge’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

As the dust settled after the Eagles’ dramatic firing of Chip Kelly in late December, one of the biggest question marks to arise, other than the quest for the team’s next head coach, was how the move would affect the team’s ability to retain Sam Bradford.

“I mean, yeah. I still enjoy the guys on this team, I enjoy the city, I’ve enjoyed my time here. Obviously, I think a lot of it depends on who they hire as a head coach now and what type of offensive system he wants to run,” Bradford said at the time.

Thursday afternoon, addressing the media for the first time since his two-year, $36 million deal was announced Tuesday, Bradford said the Eagles’ decision to bring Doug Pederson aboard as their head coach played a big role in his willingness and desire to remain in Philadelphia.

“My conversations with [Pederson] have been great,” Bradford said Thursday, his new coach standing just a dozen feet to his left. “I think the fact that he played the position was a huge bonus for me. I think, being able to have conversations with someone who’s been on the field and who sees it from the quarterback’s perspective, I think that was huge.

“Also the fact that the offense is very similar to what we ran with [Pat] Shurmur when I was in St. Louis is something that — obviously, it’s going to be a transition, it’s going to take time, but it is something that I’m familiar with. We’ve kind of briefly talked about some of the terminology, and the words that we used are fairly similar.”

Bradford, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next Wednesday at 4 p.m., asserted throughout his 15-minute back-and-forth with reporters that he never entertained thoughts of relocating to a new team, a new offense, and a new city.

Before he left at the end of the season for some personal time back home in Oklahoma, Bradford said, he had good conversations with Howie Roseman and other members of the Eagles’ organization, and he told his agent, Tom Condon, that Philadelphia was where he wanted to be.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Bradford said. “Obviously, there was some change, some turnover, but I think we have a great group of guys in that locker room. I really enjoyed my time here last year. I built some great relationships with some of those guys, and that’s who I want to take the field with on Sundays.

“That’s why I wanted to come back here. There really wasn’t any temptation to do anything else. I told my agent, after the season was over, this was where I wanted to be. I wanted him to get me back here, and I’m thankful he did.”

Bradford’s first season with the Eagles was also the first time he played at least 10 games in a season since 2012, due in large part to debilitating ACL injuries with the Rams. Last offseason, as he learned Chip Kelly’s new offense, Bradford was relegated to the sidelines for the majority of the time.

This year, barring an unforeseen setback in the next few months, Bradford said he’s excited to head into a new season without any lingering thoughts of injuries. He’s been talking to Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, trying to persuade them to come spend time with him in Oklahoma, throwing, catching and hanging out.

And, most importantly, he’ll be focusing on coming back stronger than he was at the beginning of 2015.

“It’s huge to be able to focus on my body,” Bradford said, “to try and put some weight back on, to put some strength in my lower body, to not have to rehab, to not have to worry about, ‘When am I going to be healthy? When am I going to be able to throw? When am I going to be able to take the field?’

“To not have those question marks, and to be able to focus on getting myself into the best shape possible and getting ready for the spring program, getting myself ready for OTAs, I think that’s a huge advantage. Last year, being limited during that time, and learning a new offense, obviously no one wants to do that. You obviously want to take as many reps as you can. So hopefully this year, being healthy, being where I am physically, it will help on the field, as well.”