The St. Louis Rams' worst fears were confirmed on Sunday.
A MRI showed that quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL in his surgically repaired left knee. Rams coach Jeff Fischer confirmed the extent of the injury, which was first reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen. FOX Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo confirmed that Bradford is expected to miss the entire 2014 season.
"We lost our quarterback," Fisher said. "For Sam, it was devastating."
Bradford was injured in the first quarter of a 33-14 preseason victory Saturday night at Cleveland. He was hit on his left side by Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant as he threw a pass.
Bradford hopped briefly on his right leg before dropping to the ground.
Fisher seemed optimistic when speaking with reporters after the game, saying that the injury "appeared just to be a hyperextension." Fisher said that Bradford was walking around the locker room. However, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport said the QB was given a battery of tests on Sunday and the true extent of the injury revealed itself.
Bradford, the first overall pick of the 2010 draft, was recovering from the exact same torn ACL injury in the same knee that he suffered last October. He ended up missing the final nine games of the season. He's missed 15 games over the first four years of his career.
Veteran Shaun Hill is the backup, and the Rams also have rookie Garrett Gilbert and Austin Davis on the roster.
"Shaun's our guy," Fisher said. "I brought him here."
"It is a tremendous loss for them," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "We knew that it didn't look like much when it happened, but I just think it was a good amount of weight that got put on it. It's such an unfortunate thing."
Pettine said there "certainly wasn't any intent" by Bryant to hurt Bradford.
Bradford had 14 touchdown passes and four interceptions last season. The Rams then upgraded their offensive line by drafting guard-tackle Greg Robinson No. 2 overall.
Bradford played in two preseason games and was 4 for 9 for 77 yards against the Browns.
The 34-year-old Hill has thrown only 16 passes the past three seasons as the backup in Detroit. He made 10 starts in 2010 for the Lions in place of injured Matthew Stafford and beat the Rams for Detroit's first win after a 0-4 start.
By the time Fisher began his day-after news conference Sunday, he'd had several hours to digest the impact of an injury that puts the team's once-rosy outlook in serious doubt, and to give a vote of confidence to Hill, the journeyman backup.