Sam Bradford addressed media on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since demanding a trade request in late April. It was a rough spot for Bradford to be in. He faced a lot of tough questions. Despite this, I thought Bradford handled himself well. He was honest about the situation he finds himself in now that the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz to eventually replace him. Instead of complaining about it, though, he's doing the right thing by going out and doing his best in the short-term. He also showed awareness of how Eagles fans reacted to his trade demand.
"Yeah, I get it. I mean, they have every right to be frustrated," Bradford said. "I think the only thing that I can do going forward is to continue to get better and to go out there on Sundays starting in September, play good football, win football games and hopefully win them back. I don't think there's anything I can say. I think it's all about my actions and what I do going forward."
Bradford has the opportunity to control his future. Doug Pederson has repeatedly committed to him as the team's starting quarterback for 2016. It's up to Bradford to keep playing well to retain his job and he understands that.
"I think until that day comes, if it does come, you take the field every day, you continue to work and you continue to get better," said Bradford when asked about how he deals with the possibility of the Eagles eventually replacing him with Wentz. "I'm going to continue to lead those guys and be the leader of this football team. And if it happens at the end of the year, if it happens in two years, if it happens whenever, it's something you deal with."
Bradford said all the right things. Now he has to go out and do all the right things.
Here's a transcript of Bradford's entire press conference.
Why did you skip the last two weeks?
"You know, it was one of those things, I think when I first found out about the trade, I was frustrated. I just felt like I needed some time. I could have stayed here, could have continued to work here, but I'm not sure my head really would have been here those two weeks."
When you agreed to resign with the Eagles, what did they tell you about the prospect of you staying here for the long-term? Did that come up? Did they make any kind of promises? What was your baseline of knowledge about what the contract meant and what that meant for the future?
"Obviously, there are no promises in this business. Obviously, it wasn't a long-term deal. It was a two-year deal. I was well aware of that. We talked about that. My goal was to play well for the next two years and create that stability that I've talked about pretty much my whole career. Philadelphia is the place I wanted to be. I wanted to play well for the next two years, create that stability and then sign a longer-term deal and stay here for the rest of my career."
Why did you reconsider coming back to the team after staying away for a couple weeks during the voluntary program?
"I think it's one of those things that after time and after thought, I realized that this is still the best place for me to be. There are a lot of guys in that locker room that I really care about and I know they care about me. I think some of the conversations that I had with some of those guys in the two weeks I was away just made me realize how much I miss being around them and how much I miss being on the field with those guys. Knowing that they have my back and knowing how much support they had for me made me realize that this is still the right place for me to be."
Is the other part of that though that you tried to get a trade and the trade market dried up and that's why you came back?
"Partly so. Obviously, my agent felt at the time that the trade [was best], trying to get somewhere to create that stability in a place where I could be entrenched long term or with the goal of being there long term. He thought that was the best option, and then after those two weeks, we realized that this is the best place for me to be."
Your agent, Tom Condon, also said he doesn't believe it's a fair competition going forward with the Eagles drafting a quarterback with the second-overall pick. Do you view it that way going forward with this organization and with your future here?
"I think it's one of those things [where] now my approach is week-to-week and it's always been like that. The competition is what it is. I think if I continue to play at a high level each week on the field, if we continue to win games and if we are winning games, I think that I will be the starting quarterback and I will be out there.
With that being said, I'm not completely naïve. I think you realize that if the organization made a move to get up to No. 2, at some point, it's probably not going to be my team. But until it's not, I'm going to continue to lead these guys the way I did last year and I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability."
I know you try to stay away from social media and those sorts of things, but do you realize how much the fans, en masse, have kind of turned against you in the last two weeks?
"I haven't read it firsthand, but I think other people have made it pretty clear that it's not pretty out there right now."
Do you regret there being a trade request?
"Tom Condon has been my agent for my entire career and he's a guy that I really trust. At the time, when we were going through this process, he felt like that was the best option for me. You know, given that I trust him and know that he has my best interests at heart, I'm always going to follow his advice."
To clarify, it was Condon that requested the trade?
"Yes. I mean, obviously we talked about it, but he's the one who is really kind of my go-to in that situation. He felt it would be best and that's who I lean on."
If you wanted to be here for the long term, as you said, why wouldn't you, as a player, fight for that regardless of who they bring in here?
"I think I am. Obviously, I think if I continue to go out there and play well -"
But you left and you requested a trade.
"Kind of going back to what I said earlier, I think you can fight for that, but at the same time, I think you have to realize what the situation is. I think the aggressive move that was made to go out to try to get to No. 2, I think there's deeper meaning behind that."
Do you look over your shoulder with that? Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson said you're the quarterback and you're his starting quarterback. Do you look over your shoulder because Carson Wentz is here?
"Not at all. I don't think I can. I think the minute you start looking over your shoulder and the minute you start worrying about things that are out of your control, the minute your play starts to decline.
Like I said, going forward, I'm here to work and I'm here to get better. My job is to put our team in the best situation to win and that's what I'm going to do when the fall gets here."
Is competition, short term or long term, something that bothers you?
"No. I've told you guys from the beginning, I think every year when you step into training camp and OTAs, it's always a competition. You're always trying to prove your worth. You're trying to prove your value. Whether they say it's an open competition or not, it's always a competition in my mind and my goal is to step on that field and be the best player that I know I can be."
Condon also expressed concern over how your teammates would view you and that they wouldn't see you as the leader with Carson Wentz waiting in the wings. Are you concerned about that? Is that a valid concern?
"I don't believe so. Of all the conversations I've had with the guys in the locker room, I don't think that's the case. I've got some great relationships with those guys in there. I think those guys are behind me 100 percent, and as a quarterback, that's all you can ask for."
Have you been around Wentz at all, and if so, what has that been like? Are you mentoring him at all and do you plan to?
"Yeah, we've been together the past couple days. Obviously, I understand what it's like to be in his position. When I came in as a rookie, I had [former Rams QB] A. J. Feeley in St. Louis with me and he was great. He taught me a lot. He really kind of took me under his wing. He had been in the system with Pat [former Eagles and Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur] for several years and he really knew the West Coast [Offense]. He was really, really great about it and taught me a lot.
I'm not going to try to hide anything. I'm going to try to help Carson. If he asks questions, I'm going to give him the best answers that I can. I love seeing quarterbacks succeed in this league and if I can do something to help him become a better player, I'm going to do it."
Is that difficult at all for you, to help someone who you think is eventually going to be your replacement? Is it difficult to help them come up and maybe help them replace you?
"Not at all. I think if I wasn't willing to do that, I think that's just not having a great respect for the game. I think that's how this is. I think it's the job of older players in this league to try to help the younger guys out.
I was very fortunate when I was younger to have someone who did that for me, and I think it's only right that I fill that role now."
Is signing your contract with the Eagles when you did -- before the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation was sorted out and before the Eagles made the trade to get to No. 2 -- something you regret?
"No, not at all."
Would your reaction have been different if the Eagles had drafted a quarterback at No. 13 or at No. 8 as opposed to trading up to draft one at No. 2. That is to say, is it more about the investment that they made in order to get Wentz?
"It's really hard to say, because it didn't happen like that, and so I'm not really sure what my reaction would have been to that."
Doug Pederson said several times today that you're his guy, you're the No. 1 quarterback and you are starting the opener. He conveyed that to us, but more importantly, what does that me to you?
"It means a lot, knowing that even after the past couple weeks, I can step back into this building and continue to be the leader and continue to be the starting quarterback. With that being said though, I don't think that changes my mentality at all.
Obviously, going through a new system and trying to learn it, I still feel like I have to go out there and prove that I'm worthy of being the starting quarterback when Cleveland comes around."
Doug mentioned to us that as a player here in 1999, he experienced the drafting of QB Donovan McNabb and he understands where you're coming from. Does that say something about where your relationship with your head coach can go and that you've already found this personal common ground?
"Yeah, that's something that we touched on briefly when we talked the other day. But I think just knowing that Coach Pederson has my back as well and knowing that he's a resource for me and someone that I can go up there into his office and talk about things like that with him -- Knowing that he has experience and knowing that he can give me firsthand advice, I'm not sure there's really anyone else that could do that for me."
Can you just take us through how it went? When the Eagles delivered the news to you about the trade to No. 2, did you just immediately pack up and leave? What did you say out the door and what were your marching orders to Tom Condon?
"No, because I think I was told on Wednesday and we were in the middle of our veteran mini-camp. I was told Wednesday, came back, participated in the practice on Thursday, and then I believe Friday is when Tom called me and felt like we needed to take some action."
So Condon called you on Friday to say, ‘we need to take action?’ It was his idea?
Based on your resumé over your six-year career, was there a miscalculation on how much interest there would be in you when you made the trade request?
"Not really sure. Not really sure how to answer that."
You say that you like it here. Why didn't you just tell Condon, ‘Hey, listen, I'm a Philadelphia Eagle,’ and move forward? Why didn't you just tell him that? You're the boss, right?
"I think it kind of goes back to what I said earlier. There's a reason I have an agent. Obviously, he's been through this before. If I didn't need an agent, I wouldn't have one and I wouldn't listen to him. But he's someone I really trust. I feel like he's seen these things before and I'm always going to follow his advice."
Any remaining regrets at this point?