Sooners' QB to Enter NFL Draft

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford will have season-ending shoulder surgery and expects to enter the NFL draft in April.

The Oklahoma quarterback injured his right, throwing shoulder twice this season, most recently against Texas on Oct. 10.

The school announced Sunday that Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. Bradford is expected to address reporters following the Sooners' practice on Monday night in Norman, Okla.

"I dreamed about coming to Oklahoma my whole life," Bradford said Sunday in a statement. "That's the reason I came back for this season. And I came back to play, not sit on the bench. That's the reason I tried to play after the injury. I'm very disappointed that it didn't work out differently.

"Under these circumstances, and after talking to several people, this is the right thing for me to do at this point."

Bradford passed up the chance to be a first-round NFL draft pick this year -- he was projected as high as No. 1 overall -- to play another season with the Sooners, who he grew up following as a child in Oklahoma City.

After he was hurt against the Longhorns, reaggravating a sprain of the AC joint in his shoulder, Bradford initially said he was going to wait until the end of the season to make a decision about his future. He then called a news conference for Wednesday on campus, then canceled it about two hours before it was scheduled to take place.

He accompanied Oklahoma to its 35-13 road win at Kansas on Saturday.

According to his statement, Bradford expects his recovery time to be four to six months. As of Sunday, the April 22 draft was about six months away.

"I'll be up to the challenge," Bradford said in the statement.

Bradford led the Sooners to the BCS championship game last season as a sophomore, setting school records with 4,720 yards passing and 50 touchdowns while throwing only eight interceptions. Oklahoma lost to Florida 24-14 in the championship game, and Bradford announced less than a week later that he intended to return for his junior year -- along with classmates and fellow NFL prospects Gerald McCoy, Jermaine Gresham and Trent Williams -- for another chance at the title.

It ended up being the exact opposite of what he expected.

He broke 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White's school record for passing yards in a career one play before he was hit by BYU linebacker Coleby Clawson just before halftime in the season opener. The Sooners ended up losing that game and again at Miami without Bradford before he returned to throw for 389 yards in a win against Baylor.

On the second series against archrival Texas, Bradford fell on the shoulder again when he was sacked by Texas cornerback Aaron Williams in what will likely be the last play of his college career. The Sooners, now ranked No. 22, lost for the third time this season to fall out of the national championship race and jeopardize their chances at a fourth straight Big 12 title.

Bradford also holds several other school records, including career touchdown passes (88) and yards passing in a game (468).

"We want Sam to pursue the best option for his recovery and future," coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "We obviously feel this is best for his long-range future. Sam has led us to two Big 12 championships and an appearance in the national title game, and has demonstrated uncommon leadership skills. He is an absolute role model as a student-athlete and loyal teammate.

"We appreciate the incredible contributions he has made to this program and university."


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