The worst-case scenario fear surfaced in Sam Bradford’s mind at midseason Charles Haley Jersey , in the aftermath of the 30-year-old quarterback’s latest surgery on his left knee.
This procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, not another reconstruction, but that didn’t quiet the question about whether he’d be able to resume his career.
”That was a battle I fought for a few weeks,” Bradford said. ”But it seemed like each day where it got better, each week where it felt like I was making true progress and could do a little bit more, those thoughts started to leave my mind. I started to become more confident in how I felt on my knee and what I was able to do.”
Bradford returned to practice with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the earliest he was eligible to do so after being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 8.
The Vikings can put him back on the active roster for the playoffs at any time, with a decision required by Jan. 23 if they advance to the Super Bowl.
Bradford would likely only be the second or third option at that point behind Case Keenum and possibly Teddy Bridgewater, but in this unpredictable sport the potential of him being summoned into duty can’t be dismissed.
”I’ve been working extremely hard to be able to get back out there, and so just to be out there and be able to go through these two practices, it’s been great,” Bradford said on Wednesday, his first mass interview in three months. ”I think we’re still just taking it one day at a time.”
Bradford, who tore his ACL in 2013 and 2014 when he was with the St. Louis Rams, performed brilliantly in the season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints, during which he aggravated the knee.
Keenum started the next three games Keke Coutee Jersey , until Bradford had made sufficient enough progress to be cleared to start at Chicago on Oct. 9. He hobbled around in the first half against the Bears that night, though. He took four sacks and produced only three points before giving way to Keenum again late in the second quarter, this time for good.
Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman described the injury as natural wear and tear, but Bradford tried a variety of treatments to try to strengthen the joint without success before ultimately opting for the surgery.
Finally, he said, the knee is feeling as good as it has since training camp.
”I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how it’s going to hold up. But I didn’t know how it was going to hold up after the previous two operations,” Bradford said.
”I don’t think anyone knows how their body is going to hold up. All you can do is try to get it as strong as possible.”
Bradford kept up a behind-the-scenes presence with the Vikings throughout his rehabilitation, assisting Keenum with the game-planning and attempting to remain engaged with the team during its run to a 13-3 regular season record and a first-round bye for the playoffs.
”I know it’s been a hard year for him battling that knee, so it’s good to see him out there feeling good,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said.
The what-could-have-been feelings were inevitable for Bradford, given the team’s success without him, but calling it career before all options were exhausted was not entertained even with career earnings well over $100 million.
”You realize how special it is to be on the field with your teammates, being able to compete out there in the National Football League,” Bradford said.
”That’s one of the greatest honors there is. I think once you have a taste of that feeling, it’s really hard to let it go. I think for everyone, it’s what drives you to come back.”
Rudolph Darren Woodson Jersey , for his part, pushed through a sprained right ankle over the past three games.
”I can’t tell you what Plan B would’ve been had we had to play a game this week. I just would’ve been out there and been a terrible football player like I have been for the last three weeks,” Rudolph said. ”Getting to this week off is big for me.”
With someone walking onstage every few minutes to read a name off a piece of paper, the NFL draft wouldn't seem like a big television draw. Yet the 11.2 million people who watched this year made it the week's second most popular program.
The first round of the draft was shown on Fox, the NFL Network and several ESPN networks simultaneously. This year's assignment of college football players to NFL teams was particularly suspenseful, with a handful of quality quarterbacks waiting to be drafted, and little consensus ahead of time over how things were going to go.
Still, it wasn't quite as popular as the most-watched draft ever. That came in 2014 when another quarterback, in this case Johnny Manziel, was selected first by the Cleveland Browns. That draft reached 12.4 million people on Thursday, the Nielsen company said.
Coverage of the third day of the draft, when the players really start getting obscure, reached nearly 3 million and was the most ever, Nielsen said.
With ABC's "Roseanne" in repeats, CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" returned to the top of the ratings, reaching 11.8 million people.
CBS won the week in prime time Sammie Coates Jersey , averaging 6.4 million viewers. ABC had 4.5 million, NBC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.
TNT was the most popular cable network, averaging 2.74 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 2.35 million, ESPN had 1.86 million, MSNBC had 1.75 million and USA had 1.45 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 7.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million.
For the week of April 23-29, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory" (Thursday, 8 p.m.) CBS, 11.8 million; "Young Sheldon," CBS, 11.16 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC Jon Weeks Jersey , 9.26 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.16 million; "American Idol" (Sunday), ABC, 8.77 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 8.43 million; "Mom," CBS, 8.31 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 8.13 million; "Survivor," CBS, 7.82 million; "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 7.79 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
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