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Bradford will have competition for No. 1 job in 2015 … if he returns

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EARTH CITY, Mo. – Sam Bradford hopes to be back with the St. Louis Rams in 2015, and if he is, head coach Jeff Fisher said he will have competition for the starting quarterback job.

Said Fisher, “He’s very excited about the opportunity to come back and compete for the spot here. There probably will be another quarterback in the building he’ll be competing with. What that looks like, I can’t tell you right now – from a draft standpoint or from free agency. But, he’ll be competing. You’ve got to be realistic, but I think we need to do that. Sam understands that. He doesn’t have any problem with competition. He’s been competing his whole life.”

Bradford suffered a torn ACL on Aug. 23 for the second straight year and missed the entire season. In his five years with the Rams, he has been paid $65 million and still has one season at $12.985 million left on his contract.

It has been widely assumed for Bradford to return, he will have to agree to a substantial pay cut that would likely include significant performance bonuses that would be paid if he can stay healthy and play. Of a possible 80 games, he has played just 49 and played all 16 games twice in 2010 and 2012.

He understands his return is likely contingent on a contract restructuring and that there will be competition.

“If I’m here, that’s what I would expect,” Bradford said. “But we haven’t had really any talks about the future and what’s going to happen so until that progresses, I really don’t know. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that can happen. I’m not really involved in that process. That’s why I’ve got an agent.”

Added Fisher: “Sam and I have talked kind of off and on throughout, since the injury. I’m sure we’re going to be getting together here soon. We have some work to do, obviously, from a contractual standpoint that I’m confident we’ll sort some things out. Just looking at some numbers, Sam – since our arrival here – is 5-2-1 in the division and the other quarterbacks are 2-8. I think that’s indicative of the type of talent that he has. Most of those wins came when this team was not, in our opinion, as good as it is now. The key to his success and to his future, obviously, is being able to stay healthy.”

When asked if it was possible Bradford would be back under the current terms of his contract, Fisher said, “I’m not going to go into specifics because we have not had the time to sit down and discuss it. I appreciate the question, but I’m not going to answer that.”

However, he did then say, “I think it would make sense that both sides need to get together and work something out.”

If healthy, Bradford would be the favorite to win the starting job, considering the limited options in free agency and the Rams’ current slot of picking 10th in the first round of the draft.

As far as his rehab, Bradford started running about two weeks ago and began “turning the corner” in the last three or four weeks.

While noting that this injury was a lot less painful than the torn ACL he suffered in 2013, Bradford also admitted that “it’s been tougher mentally than last year” and said early on there were moments when he wondered if it was worth it continue playing.

“It was really tough that first week after the injury,” Bradford said. “There was part of me for a couple days that I was done with football. I didn’t want to come back, I didn’t want to play (and) I was tired of rehabbing. I was just tired of the process. But when you step back and you are away from the game for a while, then you come back and you’re in the building and you’re around your teammates, I quickly realized that I wasn’t done and that I wanted to come back. I feel like I’ve still got a lot to prove.”


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