Saint Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will not play this season due to a torn ACL. The former Heisman winner injured his left knee, the same anterior cruciate ligament that held him out of more than half of 2013, in the first quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game against the Browns. Head coach Jeff Fisher made the official announcement in a news conference on Sunday.
What was first optimistically thought as a hyperextension turned out to be far worse. Defensive lineman Armonty Bryant hit Bradford immediately after his ninth passing attempt of the game. He was removed before the next play, but was able to walk to the locker room on his own. Torn ACLs require at least six months of rehab, which forces Bradford to set his sights on the 2015 season.
The name “Sam Bradford” and the word “injury” are becoming synonymous with one another. He was drafted first overall in the 2010 NFL draft in lieu of undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in his junior year at Oklahoma. Bradford may have four years of NFL experience under his belt, but he’s only played just over three full seasons. With only 23 wins in 49 frustratingly inconsistent starts, the Rams aren’t seeing the return on their investment that they were expecting from the young quarterback they’ve guaranteed $50 million to.
The starting quarterback job now falls in the hands of Shaun Hill, whose lucky number must be 13 because of his 13-13 record as a starter in 13 NFL seasons. When unfortunate incidences like this happen, it’s often speculated on who the team will trade for as a replacement for such an important player. Eagles’ backup Mark Sanchez has been linked to Saint Louis to fill Bradford’s void, but the 27-year-old former Jet is said to have no interest in joining the Rams.
The offseason is a long time from now, so it remains to be seen if the Rams will part ways with the young quarterback. While they’ve patiently waited for Bradford to peak, the Rams have had opportunities to draft other first-round quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III and Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. Bradford isn’t a free agent until after next season, but the Rams could find their patience run short and release him a year early.