Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Sam Bradford sounded intent that playing Saturday against Baylor would be the best option for him and his Oklahoma team.
Whether it’s the wisest decision still remains to be seen.
The defending Heisman Trophy winner said Tuesday that recovering from his sprained shoulder joint during the past few weeks was “one of the hardest things” he’s done in a long time.
I’m sure that losing two games by one point hasn’t made his recovery any easier.
Those losses have made the odds very long that Bradford and the Sooners will be able to accomplish their goal of winning the BCS championship. That was the major reason he cited when he returned to college for his junior season.
Bradford sounded determined to return to his team’s games and said that playing Saturday would give his team its best chance to make a run at the Big 12 championship.
Winning that title, in bold letters, likely would mean beating Texas on Oct. 17. Bradford believes a tune-up before that game would prepare his team for a strong stretch run.
“That definitely is important and something I’ve talked to [Oklahoma quarterbacks coach Josh] Coach Heupel about,” Bradford said. “To get a game before Texas would definitely be beneficial for me and the offense.”
But he stopped short of saying he would be in the lineup, saying he expects to have a decision by Wednesday or Thursday after he’s continues practicing this week.
“I don’t know if I can give you a definite answer, but I do feel I will be back this year to play,” Bradford said. “It’s still a process to see how it reacts to a full game week of preparation and amount of throws it takes to get ready for a game.”
Perhaps most interestingly of all, Bradford said he doesn’t second-guess his decision of coming back to play his junior season when he could have made millions playing pro football.
“Obviously I knew this was possibility and knew from Day 1 that coming back and playing another year there was possibility of being hurt,” Bradford said. “But I felt benefit of coming back and going through another year of college outweighed the risk of coming back and getting hurt. I still feel like I made right decision. There’s no looking back on it. I can’t change it. So there’s really no reason to second-guess myself now.”
He doesn’t even begrudge cashing in on the millions that would have been available in the NFL draft.
“Money’s not everything,” he said. “To me, there are a lot more things. I’ve dreamed about coming to Oklahoma and playing football for a long time. This is who I wanted to play for. My experience has been unbelievable. I felt like coming back and adding to that experience would be a great thing for me.”
The Sooners' odds of winning the national title might be slim, but Bradford doesn’t accept it as absolute, either.
“You say that winning the national championship is out of the picture, but what happens if we win nine straight games and win the Big 12,” Bradford said. “There’s still a possibility. To win another Big 12 championship and be the first team to win four straight Big 12 titles is still there. There’s still a lot in front of the team. It would be extremely selfish for me to even think about not playing, or something like that, considering how much I've worked with these guys to get ready.”
And to do that, I think he thinks he really needs to play against Baylor to get ready for the rest of the season.
Which leads me to believe that he’ll push to come back into the lineup on Saturday.
But whether he’ll be playing still will be a determination between Bradford, the Oklahoma coaches and his doctors.
Just out of curiosity, what would you do if Bradford was your son? Would you push for him to come back quickly to help his team win? Would you dissuade him with the idea of all those future millions out there in NFL money?