Why Is Sam Bradford Sabotaging His Own Career?
"Quarterbacks need to make their team better. If it's a bad team, they can even make a bad team better."
-Fran Tarkenton, Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback
From where I stand, Eagles Quarterback Sam Bradford has done little in his time in Philadelphia to make his team better. Whether these actions are out of his control (like injuries or Wide Receivers dropping passes) or actions are within his control (such as signing a contract that pays him well above what he has earned or demanding that he is traded through the mouthpiece which is his agent) Bradford has done little to help an organization starved for consistency from the most important position on the football field.
Sam Bradford has qualities you want in an NFL Starting Quarterback such as a strong throwing arm and toughness, he also for his career has more touchdowns thrown versus interceptions. He led his college team to the BCS National Championship Game and won a Heisman Trophy.
Meanwhile the Eagles have attempted to do the right thing by Bradford since he has arrived in Philadelphia. Despite Chip Kelly's shortcomings he tried to put veteran players on the field with Sam (Miles Austin and Brent Celek) while bringing in players he had good relationships with (Demarco Murray). When the Eagles saw Chip Kelly was putting the organization in a downward spiral, the owner fired him. Then they hired a new Head Coach in Doug Pederson who has experience as an NFL Quarterback and brings with him an offense that many expect Sam Bradford's skill set work well with. They brought in offensive coordinator who played Quarterback in the NFL also in Frank Reich. Eagles also signed players to beef up the offensive line to protect Bradford better in 2016. Furthermore the Eagles paid him like top tier NFL Quarterback with 11 million guaranteed paid him before the end of March 2016.
Yet despite all of this, Bradford is unhappy about the Eagles trading up to get a potential Franchise Quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. Now Bradford wants out of town and refuses to show up to Voluntary Workouts where new Head Coach Doug Pederson is installing his new offense. He refuses to answer calls or return texts even though the Eagles need their starting Quarterback to learn the offense. He signing a contract that cripples the organization from trading him or releasing him.
How is him doing this helping his team? How is this helping Bradford's career? The answer is being M.I.A. is hurting the Eagles growth within Pederson's new offense and acting this way is hurting Bradford's image. If you are an NFL team looking at Philadelphia from the outside, do you really want Sam Bradford as your Quarterback? As far as we know, only one team came calling about Bradford and the Broncos proceeded to draft a player to be the future franchise starting Quarterback instead.
973espn.com Eagles Insider John McMullen made a point on Monday's The Sports Bash with Mike Gill that stood out to me:
"I think the biggest issue is the Voluntary (Workouts) because if you expect to be a starting Quarterback in this league, especially with a first year Head Coach who's installing a completely new offense, if you want to be the leader of that team you have to be there for the Voluntary stuff. If you look all around the NFL you will never see a starting Quarterback miss Voluntary work...and I think if that continues, Doug (Pederson) kind of intimated it after the draft he's going to start thinking about 'You know what, Chase Daniel already knows my offense let's give him a chance to be the bridge because he'll embrace that opportunity where Sam Bradford is kind of balking at it"
And then I think of what a four time Super Bowl Champion and Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback said years ago:
"Any quarterback that understands what the offense is really about is going to succeed."
So if one Hall of Fame Quarterback says the job of the QB is to make his team better, which Sam is not doing, while another Hall of Fame Quarterback links success at QB to understanding the offense, which Sam has not learned yet, then where is Bradford's career going?
Is Bradford an Entitled Narcissist? He doesn't care about his team (who is paying him a lot of money to be the Starting Quarterback), doesn't care about his teammates (who are having to learn Pederson's new offense with the Backup QB), doesn't care about communicating with his coaches (since he wont return any calls or texts from Doug Pederson), and he doesn't care about his public image (allowing his agent to speak for him and say things that make him look bad). So why would any NFL team want a player who does that to be the face of their franchise?
Or is Bradford a Passive-Aggressive and Insecure Individual? He is shying away from competition for his job (after the Eagles draft Carson Wentz 2nd overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and signed Chase Daniel to be the backup/bridge QB), he refuses to speak for himself by letting his agent speak for him (Bradford will not return any calls or respond to any texts from Eagles organization), he signed a contract that guarantees him up to 22 million dollars but has done nothing to earn that money (Eagles paid him on potential that he has not been around to fulfill yet) and after meeting with Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, and Jeff Lurie a few weeks ago said everything was fine ("We spoke with Sam and he's a pro" - Howie Roseman) then a few days later wants out of town without speaking for himself.
Whatever the source of Bradford's bizarre narrative, he has done more to hurt his career in the NFL than the actually injuries he has sustained over the years. We live in a world where "Perception is Reality" so it doesn't matter what the truth may be, all football fans and NFL teams see/know is what you allow them to. Bradford is acting Entitled or Insecure, both are personality characteristics unbecoming of a leader. The Quarterback position in the NFL one of leadership; the ball is in their hand on almost every offensive play and they conduct the offense on the field. You wouldn't want the face of your franchise to be Entitled individual who doesn't work to earn that position of preeminence nor would you want the leader of a team or organization to operate under a cloud of insecurity. Bradford is not projecting the qualities confidence or dependability or leadership you want from a Quarterback or any leader.
At no point in all of this has Bradford thought of the needs of his teammates, communicating with his bosses, or operating his professional affairs from a position of strength. Nothing in his career has shown me he deserves to be an NFL Starting Quarterback; he's just another talented athlete who lacks the self-awareness, the leadership qualities, or desire to be a team player to be a true success in the sports arena. Yet he has been paid 78 million in his NFL career, which is one million for every touchdown he has thrown. Football is the ultimate team sport and Sam Bradford is not going about his professional life as a guy who wants to be apart of a team. Or he is just lacks the self-awareness and maturity to be a leader of men.
For more on the latest on the Sam Bradford-Eagles saga, checkout what 973espn.com Eagles Insider John McMullen said on Monday's edition of The Sports Bash