Sam Bradford: The quiet man
Sam Bradford returned to the OU stage Wednesday night. He was honored at halftime of the Sooner-Texas basketball game at Lloyd Noble Center.
But it was a strange experience. Bradford sat courtside with OU athletic director Joe Castiglione in the first half, then at halftime OU showed a video tribute, several minutes long, to Bradford’s fabulous career. Then the crowd cheered mightily as Bradford walked onto the court and a spotlight shone upon him.
The roars continued, Bradford slowly turned and waved, and then … walked off the court. Without comment.
It was very odd. Those fans who filled Lloyd Noble on a snowy night deserved to hear from Bradford. He didn’t have to make a speech. Didn’t have to wax eloquent for several minutes. Just a few words would have sufficed — thanks for your support, you were great fans, go Sooners. That would have been enough.
Instead, fans walked away bewildered. Several mentioned it to me after the game.
I know Bradford’s never been crazy about the spotlight. But I also know he’s grown accustomed to it and has actually grown comfortable with it.
Bradford gave a press conference before the game and it was far better than he gave as a Sooner. I attended the NFL Combine last winter, and Bradford’s press conference was very stodgy. One of the worst among big-time players.
He was much better Wednesday night, as you would expect from an NFL rookie of the year.
You can check out some of the press conference on newsok.com.
Bradford was very interesting, talking about his frustration at losing offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and having to learn a new offense, and how deep friendships are fewer on NFL teams than on college teams, and even offering up Charlie Gitto’s as his favorite St. Louis Italian joint. It’s my favorite, too.
Bradford never was that engaging at OU, but he’s showing P.R. maturity as a Ram, which is to be expected. You don’t find too many boring NFL quarterbacks, and Bradford is most definitely an NFL quarterback.
I just wish he had addressed his adoring fans Wednesday night at Lloyd Noble Center. Bradford is maybe the most popular Sooner player ever, at least during his time on campus. The fans loved him. They deserved to hear from him his gratitude.
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