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Sam Bradford Out For Season, Rams Out $17 Million

For the second time in as many years, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has gone down with a season ending injury. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the same injury to the same knee that took him down at midseason in 2013.

The injury occurred on what looked to be a relatively light hit from Cleveland Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant. Bradford was able to shake off the initial contact but Bryant made secondary contact with his knee as he fell to the ground.

It was clear that a substantial injury had occurred. Bradford collapsed to the ground in obvious pain and was immediately surrounded by team doctors and trainers. He was able to limp off the field of his own volition before being taken off to the locker room for further examination.

There was some initial hope that Bradford had only sustained a strain or a bruise, but additional tests showed the tear. According to coach Jeff Fisher, the circumstance of the injury was as unfortunate as it was unlikely.

“It’s just highly unusual,” Fisher said of Bradford’s knee re-injury. “It wasn’t high impact. … They’re all different. And this was just kind of a hyperextension with the knee. You just had the impact from the outside and the knee was locked and something has to give. Unfortunately, the ACL gave.”

The loss of Bradford is a devastating blow for the Rams, who represents a cap hit of over $17 million for 2014. According to Sportrac, his base salary is $14,015,000 this season with a signing bonus of $3,595,000—the highest earning year of his bloated contract.

With few options at this point, the Rams move forward with veteran Shaun Hill as their starter. Hill is a 34-year-old journeyman who is an underwhelming 13-13 as a starter. But according to Fisher, they’re not currently in the market.

“I’ve heard that there’s speculation that we’re on the phone. That’s not true,” said Fisher. “It doesn’t mean to say that we won’t, but we haven’t done it at this point. We’ll get together as an organization and see. But right now, keep in mind these guys understand our system.”

What remains to be seen is what the Rams are going to do with Bradford. At this point, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to be willing to pay him the year remaining on his contract in 2015. Once that decision is made, he could very well be cut loose.

No matter the timetable, it seems Bradford’s story in St. Louis has already been written. And the ending really sucks.

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