TEMPE, Ariz. — Days from his debut with the Arizona Cardinals, quarterback Sam Bradford said his oft-injured left knee is healthy, which has let him embrace another opportunity to play after missing 15 games last season with the third major knee injury of his career.
“I know that right now, it does feel as good as it has felt in a long time,” Bradford said.
Coach Steve Wilks checks in on Bradford daily to see how he and his knee are holding up. After months of daily chats, Wilks said he feels Bradford is “at a great place right now.”
“From a physical standpoint, I think he’s great,” Wilks said. “I think the knee is strong. He’s at a good place right now, and he had a good practice today.”
The status of Bradford’s knee has given him a new lease on football yet again. Bradford, who has missed 48 games — the equivalent of three full seasons — has a renewed appreciation for playing football.
“I think at this point, you just realize how special each game is,” Bradford said. “It truly is a blessing to be out there every Sunday, every time you get on the field with your teammates after having gone through some of the injuries that I have.
“Having not been able to be out there, I don’t think you take it for granted at all. You realize how special it is and how unique of a position we’re in to be able to do what we do, and really with the mindset of just trying to make the most of it.”
Bradford, 30, said he is expecting “a lot of excitement” to fill him Sunday as he takes the field at State Farm Field. It has already started to bubble up as Bradford has begun going through a game-week routine. Even his wife noticed, he said.
Bradford said he still gets butterflies in his stomach before every game, a sign to him that he’s still invested in his career.
Bradford is coming off an offseason in which he had just 11 pass attempts. This was similar to how he was handled by the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2015 preseason when he attempted just 15 passes coming off his second ACL injury. But he feels he has done everything in his “power” to get himself ready for Sunday.
“If something happens and I get injured or if something happens and it doesn’t hold up, I’m going to hold my head high knowing that I put my body and myself in the best position to succeed,” Bradford said. “I think that’s all you can do, and that’s really what I’ve told myself throughout this process.”