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Inside Sam Bradford’s decision to stay at OU

Oklahoman Published: January 15, 2009
Heisman encores
Before Sam Bradford, five Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks returned for another season of college. How they fared:

→1964: Navy’s Roger Staubach suffered through a disappointing season. The Midshipmen’s record fell from 9-2 to 3-6-1, and Staubach’s numbers dropped: from seven to four touchdowns and from 1,474 yards to 1,131.

→1991: BYU’s Ty Detmer played superbly again, placing third in the ’91 Heisman. The Cougars were 10-3 in ’90 and 8-3-2 in ’91. Detmer’s numbers fell but were still spectacular: 35 touchdowns and 4,031 passing yards.

→2004: OU’s Jason White mirrored Detmer. White placed third in the ’04 Heisman, and his numbers fell but remained great — 35 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 3,205 yards. OU went 12-1 and lost to USC in the national title game.

→2005: USC’s Matt Leinart had numbers very similar to his previous two seasons — 28 TDs, eight interceptions, 3,815 yards — but placed third in the Heisman and the Trojans lost to Texas in the national title game.

→2008: Florida’s Tim Tebow fell to third in the Heisman, but his numbers were great — 3,420 total yards and 42 touchdowns passing and rushing — and the Gators went 13-1 and beat Oklahoma in the national title game.

Draft drops
Gauging the NFL Draft can be dicey, particularly three months before the draft and six weeks before the NFL Combine, when many decisions are made on a player’s talents.

Sam Bradford might have gone first, second or third in the draft. But he also might have fallen. Other quarterbacks have before him:

→1. Aaron Rodgers 2005: The California QB was expected to go either first or second, along with Utah’s Alex Smith. But after the 49ers picked Smith, no team seemed to want a quarterback. Green Bay took Rodgers at No. 24.

→2. Brady Quinn 2007: Quinn was expected to go second or third, but the Browns bypassed the Notre Dame quarterback at No. 3, and Quinn fell all the way to No. 22, where Cleveland got him.

→3. Matt Leinart 2006: Leinart likely would have been the No. 1 pick in 2005, but he came back to Southern Cal for his senior year. Projected to go No. 3 in the ’06 draft, Leinart instead fell to the Cardinals at No. 10.

Quarterback contracts
What kind of money did Sam Bradford leave on the table? Here are the contracts of quarterbacks picked in the first round of the past four NFL Drafts:

No. 3 Matt Ryan, Boston College: six-year, $72-million contract, with $34.