Bradford back; will participate in OTAs

By Howard Balzer

Thursday was a scheduled off day for St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford after participating in the team's first OTA Tuesday with a brace on the left knee he injured in the team's Oct. 20 game against the Carolina Panthers last season.

"But you will be able to see him tomorrow," head coach Jeff Fisher told the media after Thursday's open OTA. "We're going to have him participate in about half of the OTAs. He'll probably get five of them in. Tomorrow, he's going to throw two 7-on-7 periods. He threw a 7-on-7 period with the ones on Tuesday. "He looked great. He looked really good. He's throwing the ball well and looked really good. We think it's smart to keep him out of the traffic right now, the team stuff. But, he's doing well.

"Moving around great; he does everything. He does his role. He does his drops and everything. We've got a pitch count on not only his arm but also his drops. He's doing all the drops and the footwork is really good."

Bradford is simply excited to be back on the field after tearing his ACL and missing the final nine games of the 2013 season.

"It felt great," he said. "To be able to come back out here and actually participate and throw routes, be a part of 7-on-7. After having to sit there and watch everything last year and not being able to be a part of the group, part of the guys, it just felt really good to be back to normal."

As for the plan through the remainder of the OTAs, Bradford said, "I think coach plans to allow me to participate in about half of them. I sat down with Schotty (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) and we kind of looked at the different OTAs and what's going on in each OTA and what we felt was most important and the ones that he thought I needed to be a part of and that I thought I needed to be a part of. That's kind of our plan right now."

One byproduct of the work he did rehabbing his knee resulted in becoming stronger in the upper body.

Said Fisher, "He spent some extra time on the upper body. I think he thinks he looks pretty good now."

Bradford said, "I'm quite a bit stronger up top and I think it's really carried over to the field. I just feel like there's a little more pop on my ball now. I feel fresher. I just feel really good physically right now, especially upper body wise."

Meanwhile, Bradford said he was unfazed by the persistent speculation and opinions throughout the offseason that the Rams would consider moving on from him and select a new quarterback in the draft.

Asked whether he ever had any doubts about the team's commitment to him, Bradford said, "I didn't. Throughout the end of last year I was in communication with (general manager) Les (Snead) and Jeff and they made it very clear what their plan was. Throughout the offseason they continued to make that clear. I knew what my position on this team was."

As for the specific rumors in the days before the draft that the Rams might select Johnny Manziel, Bradford said, "Like I said, I had been in pretty good communication with Les and Jeff and they had made it pretty clear what their intention was, so I really wasn't too worried."

Finally, Bradford acknowledged the importance of staying healthy for an enteri season, something he hasn't been able to dio in three of his last five seasons, including his final one at Oklahoma.

"It's really frustrating," he said, "especially coming in my first year and taking every snap, playing all 16 games. Obviously, that's the goal and that's what I would like to get it back to. Unfortunately, you can only control what you can control. Some of those injuries, there's not really much you can do about them and you've got to deal with them the best that you can.

"I don't think the injuries really change anything. My goal is to come out here, get better every day during the offseason, get better every day during training camp and help this team win games. Obviously, as a competitor you want to be out there every day and every week. So, going into the year, I think the goal is to play every down of every week."

Howard Balzer hosts "H and Friends" Monday-Friday from 9-11 on Fox Sports 1490 The Champ. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


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