Reports: Bradford limps at Eagles OTAs, Kelly brushes it off
The first day of Eagles organized team activities that was open to the media was certainly not short on headlines.
Tim Tebow’s return to the field, Chip Kelly denying allegations of racism by a former player, new running back DeMarco Murray’s verbal spat about meat with a former teammate — it was a banner day Thursday at the NovaCare Complex.
But lost amid the attention-grabbing headlines was perhaps the most important story of all when it comes to the Eagles’ chances this coming season: The health of the guy who is supposed to be the starting quarterback.
Sam Bradford was acquired from the St. Louis Rams in a March trade that sent starting quarterback Nick Foles to the Midwest. The moved raised more than a few eyebrows as Bradford has not played in a regular-season game since October 2013 thanks to a pair of torn ACLs in his left knee.
For his part Thursday, Kelly seemed to say the right things to the gathered media to temper any concerns about his quarterback’s recovery.
"He is on schedule," Kelly said at his news conference. "We all think there’s three phases: There’s medical rehab, there’s performance rehab and then there’s prepare to play. He’s probably right at the tail end of medical rehab. He’ll probably start throwing some 7-on-7 next week, but I think he’s right on schedule in terms of where he is."
Bradford is taking part in some throwing drills, and his arm looks good from all accounts. But his knee may be another issue.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane:
"As Chip Kelly noted, if the Eagles played their regular-season opener Thursday, it would have been ‘illegal’ or something like that. His underlying message: Just because Sam Bradford’s left knee doesn’t appear remotely close to 100 percent healthy on May 28 doesn’t mean that Mark Sanchez will be the starting quarterback 109 days later.
"But with each passing day that Bradford is not completely back from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, the specter of Sanchez under center on Sept. 14 in Atlanta becomes more and more of a reality."
Later, McLane added:
"After he met with reporters, Bradford walked into the NovaCare Complex with a pronounced limp. Kelly, predictably, said he couldn’t predict when Bradford would be 100 percent, but it’s fair to say that if he isn’t ready by the start of training camp in August there will be some nervous folks at Eagles headquarters."
With Week 1 more than three months away, Bradford’s status for that game is far from certain. But one thing is certain: It’s going to be a fun summer in Philadelphia.