Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bradford picks surgery

Sam Bradford's season is likely over. ESPN is reporting that there's a "very good chance" Bradford will undergo surgery on his injured right shoulder, which would expedite the healing process but would mean that he won't be back for the Sooners this year.

I don't think it matters much to Oklahoma at this point whether he plays again this season -- at 3-3 and with Bradford out temporarily either way, a mediocre bowl game beckons -- but the important question is whether he'll be back next year, when the team will still be loaded enough to make a run at a national title.

Bradford would have been the top pick in last year's draft if he'd chosen to come out, so his status in that regard was never a concern. He came back to try to win a national title and enjoy another year of college football, and he hasn't been able to do either of those things. I hope that inspires him to come back for one more season, but I wouldn't bet on it. After suffering through an injury-filled season, it'd be extremely risky to give it another shot. Bradford is still the top player on Mel Kiper's draft board and a consensus top-five pick, so the damage from his injury hasn't had much effect in that area. But if it happens again and there's permanent shoulder damage (along with the obvious durability concerns), he'd never be able to forgive himself.

The flip side of that argument, of course, is that if he can survive a season-ending injury and still be at the top of most mock drafts, why not give it one more shot? If he doesn't get hurt again -- and football players have to assume that they won't -- there's really nothing to lose, because he'll put up big numbers on an elite team while getting to experience that year of college football he's missing right now.

Whatever he chooses -- and especially if he returns to school -- I just hope Bradford ends up staying healthy. It sucks to see talent like that relegated to the sidelines (unless you're a Texas fan, obviously).

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