IRVING, Texas — As if this kid hasn't taught us enough already, Sam Bradford has provided one more example of how to stay above the fray.
Actually, there are three examples.
Texas, Oklahoma State and Nebraska are Oklahoma's biggest rivals in football.
Here's what OU's starting quarterback has done since the first week of last December:
* During the 2008 Heisman Trophy festivities in New York City, Bradford said perhaps his most fond memories were from speaking to past Heisman winners.
Some of his favorite stories came compliments of former Nebraska I-back Mike Rozier. "He was fun to be around," Bradford said.
* Since last season, Bradford and OSU quarterback Zac Robinson have spoken together at the same church and attended various FCA events.
"I really enjoy hanging out and spending time with Zac," Bradford said.
* This summer, Bradford and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy attended Peyton and Eli Manning's Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., where Bradford and McCoy were roommates.
"We've spent a lot of time together," Bradford said. "We stayed in contact throughout the spring. We just kind of developed a friendship."
Three potential rivals, and Bradford befriended them all.
"If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to become friends with the quarterback at Texas, I probably would have looked at you a little strange," Bradford admitted.
What next? Afternoon tea with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow?
For many OU fans, there is no greater rivalry than Oklahoma vs. Texas, be it in sports or life in general.
Some might wonder how two guys stealing Heisman votes from each other could possibly extend an olive branch across the Red River.
Only someone of Bradford's ilk could get away with such perceived blasphemy.
Turns out, McCoy is of Bradford's ilk.
By now, we should all know these two guys pretty well.
We've continually seen how closely they resemble each other, how likeable they are, how special they are.
Despite the Red River stage, there is no deep-rooted hatred.
We're talking about Bradford and McCoy here, not the Hatfields and McCoys.
Bradford and McCoy are talented, competitive, smart, humble and unfathomably classy — seemingly to the same degree.
As for OU and Texas fans who might be boiling under the collar, Bradford and McCoy defuse the situation with their usual calm.
Bradford: "Our friendship goes beyond that. We can both see past that we play at rival schools."
McCoy: "From the fans' perspective, it's kind of like, 'What in the world are you all doin'? You can't be friends.' But for me, and for him in the same way, we have a lot of things in common."
Both played multiple sports in high school and neither was atop anyone's football recruiting list.
Each wound up at the college he admired throughout his childhood.
Each possesses a certain quality the other might lack as a player.
Bradford said he wants McCoy's quick feet, his ability to scramble from trouble.
McCoy is impressed with Bradford's ball-faking, how he almost always seems to know where he's going with the ball, how he hardly ever makes mistakes.
When they chat, they talk more fishing than football.
Two of college football's best quarterbacks took turns heaping praise upon each other during Big 12 Media Days this week, but you can bet your last buck no victory would resonate more than beating the other Oct. 17 in Dallas.
And afterward, a friendship will remain intact.
"He's a great player and a great person," McCoy said of Bradford, "and I don't think our friendship will ever change."
* John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.