Bradford not ruling out playing for Redskins
INDIANAPOLIS--Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was asked Saturday at the NFL scouting combine about his Native American heritage and whether that would create a dilemma for him if he were to be drafted by the Washington Redskins.
Bradford, who is of Cherokee descent, declined to discuss the subject at length, saying: "I'm not going to address that issue."
But when a reporter asked him during his media availability if that would prompt him to ask the Redskins not to draft him, Bradford said: "No."
Some Native Americans have been critical of the team's name, calling it derogatory, and have challenged it in legal proceedings.
The Redskins have the fourth overall selection in the NFL draft in April and could be seeking a quarterback. Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen are widely regarded as the top two quarterbacks available.
Both met with reporters Saturday. Neither is scheduled to participate in the throwing drills at the scouting combine, with Bradford recovering from shoulder surgery and Clausen recovering from toe surgery.
Bradford said he's been told by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews that he's ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation. Bradford estimated that his shoulder is about 85 percent healed after he suffered a third-degree separation this past season and underwent a reconstruction of his AC joint, and he predicated that he will "put on a great show and show everybody what I have" when he throws for scouts at his pro day next month.
"It really feels good right now--no discomfort," Bradford said.
Bradford said he has intensified his throwing program and now throws passes of 20 to 40 yards every other day.
He acknowledged that his performance at his pro day will be "extremely important" as teams try to determine if his shoulder is sound.
"I think everyone is really anxious to see my arm and how it is after surgery," Bradford said.
Bradford also has been mentioned as a possibility for the St. Louis Rams, who have the top overall choice in the draft.
"I think everyone dreams about being number one," Bradford said. "I'm preparing for this process to show these teams all I have. But it's not up to me, at the end of the day. It's up to them."
Bradford said he doesn't second-guess his decision to remain in school instead of entering last year's NFL draft, and he said he has added about 12 pounds to his frame since he last played in an attempt to demonstrate that he's sufficiently sturdy for the pro game.
Bradford declined to tell reporters which NFL teams he'd met with since arriving at the combine.
Clausen said he'd met with the Redskins and Buffalo Bills on Friday night.
Clausen said he was hoping to use his visits with NFL teams to clear up what he called misconceptions about his personality and leadership skills that originated during his stay at Notre Dame.
"Some people are saying I'm cocky, I'm arrogant, I'm not a good leader," he said Saturday. "I think the people who are saying that don't know me as a person."
Clausen faced plenty of tumult while in college, with the struggles of the Notre Dame program leading to the ouster of Charlie Weis as the school's coach after this past season. Clausen said Saturday "that comes with the territory of being a quarterback at Notre Dame." He feels prepared, he said, for whatever he will face at the next level, especially after playing in Weis's NFL-style offensive system.
"It's a tough situation, being in the fish bowl at Notre Dame," Clausen said. "But I was so excited to come here.... I just want to go somewhere where they want me as a person and a player, to go there and help them win games. I want to go in there and play as quick as I can and help that team.... That's why I went to Notre Dame, to best replicate what it would be like as a rookie in the NFL."
He underwent surgery in January to have tendon damage in his toe repaired, and he's expected to throw for scouts in April. Clausen said he's been told by doctors that his recovery from the procedure is going smoothly.
"They said it looks really good and it's healing," Clausen said. "They just told me to take my time and not push it too fast."
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