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Monday, October 21, 2013
Sam Bradford done for rest of season

By Nick Wagoner
ESPN.com

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams spent all day Monday planning for the eventual return of starting quarterback Sam Bradford but also for life without him.

The team announced Monday morning that Bradford will miss the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and coach Jeff Fisher elaborated on the state of his team's quarterback position early Monday evening.

Bradford's injury will land him on injured reserve in the near future, and he's expected to have surgery in the next two to three weeks after swelling in his knee goes down.

Fisher also named Kellen Clemens the starter for next Monday night's game against Seattle and acknowledged the team would be holding auditions for a backup or two in the next day or so.

First and foremost on the mind of Fisher and his team is the condition of Bradford, who Fisher said had no other structural damage and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2014 season.

"There's no reason to think otherwise," Fisher said. "I'm not going to make a soap opera out of the thing, but he's going to have his surgery and he's going to rehab and he's going to push through the offseason, and when he's ready, he'll be ready, but there's no reason to expect otherwise."

Fisher said Bradford was disappointed with the news but doing his best to accept it and move on. That sentiment is shared by Fisher and the Rams, who all believed Bradford was making strides in the right direction in his fourth season.

At the time of the injury, Bradford was on pace for his best NFL season in most major passing categories. He ends the year with 1,687 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions for a rating of 90.9.

Fisher said that when Bradford is healthy, his job will be waiting for him.

Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford was carted off the field after injuring his knee in the fourth quarter Sunday.

"I'm especially disappointed for Sam just because of the work and the effort and the progress he's made," Fisher said. "He was off to a great start so it was unfortunate but he'll be back. He's our quarterback."

Bradford suffered the injury as he scrambled toward the sideline on a second-down play with 5:27 left Sunday against the Panthers. Carolina safety Mike Mitchell pushed Bradford before he stepped out of bounds, and the quarterback landed awkwardly on the knee as he fell to the ground.

Fisher said he didn't believe the hit was illegal or dirty but did take exception to Mitchell's antics after the play. Mitchell stood in the vicinity of Bradford with his arms in the air in celebration. After Rams guard Harvey Dahl intervened, Mitchell did it again.

Fisher said he didn't blame Dahl for what he did and that he felt Mitchell was guilty of taunting.

"In my opinion, yes," Fisher said. "He did it twice. He did it initially, and then when Harvey grabbed him and tried to turn him around, he did it again. So again, I can't say that he knew Sam was hurt. I couldn't imagine a player taunting over an injured player."

Clemens is in his eighth year in the NFL and will make his 13th career start against the Seahawks. It's a situation he knows well after serving as the primary backup in stints with the Jets and Houston. He carries a record of 4-8 as a starter.

More recently, Clemens started three games for the Rams in 2011. In his career, Clemens has 2,290 yards, seven touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a rating of 62.2.

After a training camp battle with Austin Davis for the backup job, the Rams stuck with Clemens for a number of reasons.

"Kellen is great in the building," Fisher said. "He prepares himself, has a really good understanding of this offense, and is kind of a gunslinger who can run around and make plays. He's a tough guy and he's a great teammate."

In the next couple of days, the Rams will have to add another quarterback to the roster with Clemens the only healthy one of the current 53 players.

Fisher elected not to get into the names of possible candidates but did rule out the possibility of a trade. He said the Rams would bring in multiple candidates for workouts and said it's a "good possibility" they would sign more than one to provide additional depth.

One roster spot will open when Bradford heads to injured reserve. To add a second quarterback, the Rams would have to make another roster move.

Sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that the Rams have brought in Brady Quinn for a tryout and have made inquiries about Greg McElroy.

McElroy, now on the Bengals' practice squad, was drafted by the Jets when current Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was the Jets' offensive coordinator.

Because McElroy is on a practice squad, the Rams would have to offer him a contract on the 53-man roster. Quinn was released by the Jets on Monday.

"There's a lot of speculation out there, and everybody is talking and everybody knows more than we do right now," Fisher said. "Trust me, we have a process in place and we are going through that process right now."

ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen contributed to this report.