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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 17, 2010

NFL draft: Sam Bradford works out for Rams, now can only wait to hear his name called

By Jim Thomas
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NORMAN, Okla. Finally, it's a wrap for Sam Bradford. What has been a long, grueling pre-draft process is over for the Oklahoma quarterback. He made his last throw as a non-NFL player early Friday afternoon at his private workout for the Rams, then had lunch with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterbacks coach Dick Curl.

Now, there's nothing left to do but hear his name called first Thursday in the NFL draft.

"This is it," Bradford said at the end of his workout at the University of Oklahoma's indoor training facility.

Bradford said he'll hang out in Norman most of this weekend, checking out the Sooners' spring football game today. Then it's off to New York for pre-draft interviews and marketing appearances leading up to Thursday.

"Mentally it's kind of been a roller coaster, and it's been a bit wearing," Bradford said. "There's been a lot of different stages I've gone through. When it first happened with the injury, it was just the whole uncertainty of if I'm ever going to be able to throw again."

Then came shoulder surgery, months of rehab and the gradual process of building up arm strength.

"And then it's like how long is it going to take till I get back to my old self?" Bradford said. "After that happens, it's, 'OK, now when are people going to believe that?' And once they believe it, or see it, what are they going to think? Am I going to get back to the (draft) status I once was? Or am I going to drop?"

Bradford has proven everything he needed to prove about his throwing arm. Some observers, venerable draft guru Gil Brandt among them, feel Bradford has come back from surgery with even greater arm strength. Bradford himself thinks that might be the case, partly because of the extra weight he's added he's carrying 236 pounds and partly because of the extra strength he's gained through extensive weight training since the surgery.

To summarize. ...

"I feel like I'm back," Bradford said. "And now, it's gonna happen how it needs to happen. It's out of my hands at this point."

There seems to be little doubt that Bradford will be taken first in the draft if not by the Rams, then by somebody trading up for him. He has spent a lot of time with the Rams lately, from OU's pro day on March 29, to a Rams Park visit earlier this week, to Friday's private workout.

Asked about the possibility of playing in St. Louis, Bradford said: "I think it'd be a great opportunity. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I try not to picture things just because sometimes if you have your mind set to go somewhere, play somewhere, and then it doesn't happen, you've got to regroup in a pretty short amount of time.

"So, I'm not really trying to get my mind set on anything. I know that I really enjoyed my time there. And if St. Louis decides to pick me, I'd be extremely excited for that opportunity, and I think it's gonna to be a good thing."

Besides, his agent Tom Condon who attended Friday's workout can show him the town.

"I know. I know," Bradford laughed. "Tom lives in St. Louis, so it'll be good. I'll hit him up for some free dinners."

Bradford got the first of what could be many free dinners in St. Louis on Tuesday. He was among about two dozen draft prospects visiting Rams Park last week. Bradford dined in style with the rest of the visiting offensive players in the plush second-floor suite of late owner Georgia Frontiere at Rams Park.

"It was really nice," Bradford said. "I was like, 'Golly, you guys come up here every day?' And they were like, 'No, this is like a one-time-a-year deal.' "

And they weren't eating cold cuts; Ruth's Chris did the catering. Among the dinner "guests" were fellow quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame and Colt McCoy of Texas. How did the QB rivals get along? Did they argue over desert? Throw dinner rolls at each other?

"No," Bradford chuckled. "Those guys are all good guys. Me and Colt, we talk. We're friends. I haven't been around Jimmy a lot, but the times I've been around him, he's been a good guy. It was fun being there with everyone."

Bradford said he got good vibes overall from his visit.

"It's the first time I had been around their entire staff," Bradford said. "I got to meet some of the players. I thought they had great facilities. It seemed like they had a great group of guys in the locker room, too, and I really enjoyed my time visiting with the staff. They all seemed to be quality guys. And they all seemed like they're ready to win football games."

And even though the Rams are several years removed from their glory days, Bradford also said he's intrigued by the opportunity to add to the legacy of the Greatest Show on Turf.

"When I was younger, those guys were lighting it up in St. Louis," Bradford said. "It is a little bit intriguing, looking back and seeing the history of the organization, how they have had success."