SBD/Issue 154/Franchises

Rams Not Worried About Holdout Despite Bradford Being Unsigned

Rams Expect To Have Bradford
Signed By Start Of Training Camp

The Rams did not try to sign QB Sam Bradford to a contract before selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft Thursday, but the team is "not about to panic" over a possible training camp holdout, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Tom Condon, Bradford's agent, has repped fellow No. 1 draft picks Colts QB Peyton Manning, Giants QB Eli Manning and 49ers QB Alex Smith, and "all those guys got signed before training camp despite the drama" ("NFL Draft," ESPN, 4/22). NFL Network's Mike Mayock said the reason a deal had not been discussed is because the Rams were "open for business all the way to final second, and I don’t blame them" ("NFL Draft," NFL Net, 4/22). In St. Louis, Jim Thomas reports the Rams did not decide "for sure until earlier this week" about taking Bradford. However, when Rams GM Billy Devaney "went around the room Wednesday to gauge the opinion of his scouts, the coaching staff and the rest of the personnel executives, it was unanimous" in support of choosing Bradford. That consensus "helped push it over the top," but it "should be noted, too, that Rams ownership was very pro-Bradford, particularly after seeing the team pass on quarterback Matt Ryan two years ago and Mark Sanchez last year." Devaney said of Bradford, "He's a much better athlete than I'd given him credit for early on in this process. Extremely intelligent. Character. I think he's a classy kid. All those things. I happen to think he's the whole package" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/23).

HELLO, MY NAME IS.... In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette writes the "early returns from the Jaguars' fan base isn't a collective 'Whoo-whoo,' but a 'Who?'" after the team used the No. 10 overall pick on California DT Tyson Alualu. There likely are "a lot of Jaguars' season-ticket holders ... throwing up their hands," not just because the team "didn't select hometown hero Tim Tebow, but for using a top-10 pick on a Pac-10 lineman that probably won't compel fans to rush to the ticket window." Frenette: "Nobody saw this one coming. Not with the consensus top three pass-rushers ... still on the board. And to make matters worse from a public-relations standpoint, Tebow ended up being drafted at No. 25 by the Denver Broncos, the Jaguars' season-opening opponent at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/23). In Orlando, George Diaz writes of the Jaguars not selecting Tebow, "Seriously, what were the Jaguars thinking? The marketing potential would have been unprecedented, and the team would immediately have put people in the stadium -- from the cheap seats to the press room." With the Broncos opening the season in Jacksonville, "at least the Jags will get one sellout out of Tim Tebow before the stadium empties out for the rest of the season" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/23).

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