Bradford Reflects on His Time in Philly
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It all happened so quickly.
Teddy Bridgewater suffered a catastrophic knee injury in practice for the Minnesota Vikings on a Tuesday and Sam Bradford was on his way to Minneapolis by Saturday of the same week, eight days before the Eagles season opener.
The rare blockbuster NFL trade sent a starting quarterback to a team with Super Bowl aspirations in exchange for a 2017 first- and 2018 conditional fourth-round pick to the Eagles.
Fast forward six weeks or so and Minnesota is the only unbeaten team in the NFL ready to do battle with the 3-2 Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
"It's been a whirlwind of emotions," Bradford admitted on Wednesday. "I've probably felt a little bit of everything. I think the good news about the trade, was that it happened so fast and we were already in the regular season, so I didn't have a lot of time to think about things."
Bradford has never been a vocal guy and as an Oklahoma native many surmised he never really took to the East Coast lifestyle but he certainly developed some strong relationships in the Eagles’ locker room, most notably with Jordan Matthews, who swears by Bradford’s talent as a player, and Zach Ertz, who still talks with his old QB every Monday.
"There's part of you that when you're around a group of guys for a year, year and a half, you're with them every day and you develop relationships there, it's tough to leave some of those guys without having the chance to say goodbye or play with them," Bradford said.
Bradford has the best supporting cast he’s ever had in Minnesota but the veteran also believes he was on the verge of having a big year in Philadelphia had things progressed as originally planned with Bradford as the Eagles starter and Carson Wentz redshirting his rookie year.
"I was really excited about the year there," Bradford said. "I felt like I had a really good spring. I felt like things were really coming together."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson called the trade a “win-win” on Wednesday as Bradford has been superlative with the Vikings, tossing six touchdowns without a turnover in his four starts,while Wentz looks like the future franchise signal caller Philadelphia has been searching for since Donovan McNabb.
Now, Bradford will return to Philadelphia as the quarterback of the best team in football in the shadow of 18 months of ups and downs with a fanbase that never really accepted him.
From a professional standpoint, Bradford has never been in a better spot but he hasn't dismissed his time in Philadelphia as a means to that end.
In fact, the ex-Eagles on-field leader has always been a class act and took the high road when it came to discussing his time at the NovaCare Complex.
"It was a great experience," Bradford said. "I know some people would find that hard to believe. I think I learned a lot about myself as a person, as a player. Like I said, there were some guys in that locker room that I grew really close to. It was a fun group of guys to be around. I enjoyed it. It was something different — I never thought I'd live on the East Coast. So I'm grateful for the time I spent in Philadelphia and the things I learned when I was there."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen