On Bradford And the Empty QB Stall

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

As his session with reporters wrapped, Sam Bradford broke from the pack near his locker with a sarcastic, “Aw man, great to see you guys again.”

It was the first day of voluntary minicamp for the Eagles and a horde of media descended into the locker room, which has undergone some changes since our last peek inside. The stalls are organized by position group once again like they were under Andy Reid (it was more random under Chip Kelly) so corners are with corners, linemen with linemen, etc. At the very front of the room are the quarterbacks. Bradford’s stall is first, then Chase Daniel‘s, and then an empty stall that will presumably be filled later this month.

Whether the Eagles end up filling it with the likes of a Carson Wentz has become the dominant topic in town, and was at the center of the conversation with Bradford Tuesday afternoon.

“I learned a long time ago to stay away from all that stuff,” said Bradford when asked about the rumblings about the Eagles being on the hunt for a franchise quarterback. “It’s not the first time that I’ve gone through a situation like this. I think I learned a long time ago not to worry about anything I can’t control.”

Have the Eagles discussed their plans with him?

“Uh, no. I think that’s a little above my pay grade. Those guys make decisions regardless of  what we players think they should do,” he said.

“If it happens, then that’s something that I deal with when it happens. But if it doesn’t happen, there’s really not a lot of sense in wasting time and thought and energy on that.”

Instead he’s putting his energy into getting ready for the season. He hasn’t been able to fully take part in an offseason training program since 2013 because of the various injuries he’s suffered in recent years. With rehab around the clock, there has been little down time for him in-between campaigns. This offseason was a welcomed change. Bradford was able to get away a bit and could focus on strength (he did appear to have a little more mass to him) and conditioning instead of worrying about repairs.

“Man, it feels great. I just feel like, compared to last year, I’m much further along than where I was,” he said. “Physically, my knee feels great. I’ve been able to do everything. I feel like having an offseason to actually train and not rehab, it’s a nice change for once.”

Bradford said just being able to get away and spend time with friends and family during the downtime was key for his frame of mind. And a couple work buddies dropped by as well.

“[Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews hit me up probably a few weeks before they came and they were like, ‘Hey, we talked. We’re coming to Oklahoma.’ And I’m like, ‘OK, cool. Bring it on.’ Those guys are always wanting to work, always wanting to get throws in, and I’m glad they came out. We had a good time and hopefully this summer we’ll be able to get a few more guys to come out to Oklahoma and maybe get a little better workout in.”

The good health comes at a great time, as Bradford is able to get a jump start on learning Doug Pederson‘s offense. It’s a new scheme with new language but there is some overlap with systems he ran previously, which he hopes will shorten the learning curve.

That third stall over will be filled, and may be filled by a franchise quarterback in waiting. That would make Bradford’s future in Philly murkier than it already is. But that doesn’t appear to be where Bradford’s focus is  — save for those few, precious moments he gets with the media.