The Edmond Sun

July 12, 2012

Running own camp is new experience for Bradford

John Shinn
CNHI News Service

NORMAN — It wasn’t that long ago that Sam Bradford would have been the kid running from station to station Wednesday morning at the University of Oklahoma Intramural Fields.

As he looked at the hundreds of children in attendance at the Old Spice Sam Bradford Football Procamp, the 24-year-old quarterback for the St. Louis Rams and 2008 Heisman Trophy winner for OU couldn’t help thinking about what he would have been doing on a hot July day in about 1996.

“I remember being their age, and it feels like it wasn’t too long ago,” he said. “I think it was one of the greatest times of my life. I woke up every morning and went and played sports all day. Then I went to bed, woke up the next morning and did it again. I’m sure I drove some of my friends nuts because whenever they came over, we didn’t sit down for a second. We were outside doing something.

“I would give anything to be able to go back and do that again. I just hope they’re having fun with it. Football is a game, and it’s the greatest game in the world. They should be having fun when they’re out there playing it.”

The two-day camp for boys and girls ages 7-14, which will wrap up today, is Bradford’s first foray into running his own camp. He didn’t really have time the first two years of his pro career. There was a playbook he had to study, and the summer didn’t offer much time away from that.

He’s got another new playbook to learn this year. The Rams brought in a new coaching staff this season. Learning a new offense under new Rams’ coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has occupied most of Bradford’s time.

But the last six months have been different for Bradford.

“Last year with the lockout, trying to learn a new offense on your own isn’t a lot of fun, in case you guys were wondering,” Bradford said. “Being able to spend that time with him (Schottenheimer) and getting to learn the offense has been nice.”

It’s been more of a typical summer. Bradford has spent a lot of it in Norman. He’s a regular at the Sooners’ training facilities and often works out with current OU players. He sees current Sooner quarterback Landry Jones a couple of times a week.

But days like that are winding to a close. The Rams open training camp July 29 in Earth City, Mo.

The five-month grind of an NFL regular season is closing in. The last two days are some of the few he gets to have before every waking hour goes into being a starting quarterback. For Bradford, the path to get where he is now included a lot of summer days on camp fields and camp courts. He couldn’t help thinking about it as he watched those kids on Wednesday.

“I remember coming down to OU basketball camp and getting to work with some of the OU basketball players when I was younger. I just thought that was the greatest thing in the world,” Bradford said. “Hopefully, these kids at this camp have as much fun as I did when I was younger and going to these camps.”