The St Louis Rams’ worst nightmare came true during their third preseason game. In what appeared to be a harmless hit on Bradford by Cleveland Defensive End Armonty Bryant, Bradford went down holding his surgically repaired left knee. Bradford walked off under his own power and the possibility of it being a minor knee injury looked somewhat likely, but the next day they found out the devastating news.
Bradford has looked good so far during the preseason, showing off his rocket arm that made him one of the most hyped quarterbacks in the last 10 years. This injury could be detrimental to Bradford’s career as a Ram. After this season, he will have missed over twenty games in the last 3 seasons. This is definitely not what the Rams anticipated when they gave him one of the richest rookie deals ever in 2010.
Understandably, the team feels for Bradford and other leaders have become vocal in saying that their goals for the season have not changed. DE Chris Long held a players only meeting yesterday to motivate the team to keep their heads up and not lose sight of what they are working for this year. Head coach Jeff Fisher said “it’s devastating for Sam, anyone that’s gone through that procedure and that rehab understands and for it to happen again is very, very difficult.”
As far as replacing Bradford goes, rumors exploded saying the Rams had interest in the Eagles’ Mark Sanchez and the Redskins’ Kirk Cousins. Fisher put down the rumors immediately, saying that “Shaun Hill is our guy, this team is going to rally around Shaun, and we’re going to go play”.
There is some room for optimism during this dark time for the Rams who can’t seem to catch a break at the Quarterback position. They were a .500 team last year with Kellen Clemens at the helm, and many believe that Shaun Hill is a far more qualified man for the job. With a potentially elite defense and young improving stars on offense, the Rams hopes and expectations this year are certainly not diminished.
This was supposed to be a make or break year for Bradford. And unfortunately, it has ended with a break in the most literal sense of the word.
It will be interesting to see how Fisher and Co. deal with this critical injury. This is the third year of the Fisher reign, in what a lot of people believe to be a put up or shut up year for him as well. The injury to Bradford has no doubt made it that much more difficult to compete in the tough NFC west, but the Rams still have a chance to make some noise in the league’s most difficult division.