ST. LOUIS (AP) At times, Sam Bradford forgot all about his surgically repaired left knee.
Except for a brace, the St. Louis Rams have no restrictions in training camp for their quarterback, either. The first overall pick of the 2010 draft missed the last nine games last season and is a key to a franchise seeking a breakthrough season.
”I feel great, my knee really feels good,” Bradford said after the first full-squad workout in unseasonably cool weather Friday night. ”They feel good about having no limits.
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”If it starts getting a little sore and we need to pull back we can always do that, but out of the gate I’m going to try to do everything.”
Coach Jeff Fisher said Bradford was so impressive in conditioning tests, he finished ahead of players who should have bested him.
”Guys that you would think would do a lot better. How does that sound?” outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said, laughing. ”We’ve got the general on offense back,”
Bradford was eased back into the mix during OTAs last month and became a full participant the final week. He realizes there might be a little more trepidation before the preseason opener, but added, ”At this point, I haven’t noticed anything.”
During the month off for players, Bradford worked out with five young receivers to come to his home in Norman, Oklahoma, and footed the bill, too.
The Rams (7-9) are entering their third season under Fisher and general manager Les Snead and seeking a breakthrough for a franchise that hasn’t fielded a winning team since 2003.
”I’m going on Year 5 and there’s some guys in there that have been there longer than I have,” Bradford said. ”No one steps on the field to lose. I think we want it just as bad as the city and fans do.”
A crowd estimated at 1,484 attended the workout with temperatures in the high 70s with a cooling breeze after a storm threatened for several hours but failed to materialize. Temperatures are expected to be back in the 90s for Day 2 Saturday.
Fans passed through a souvenir tent on the way to the field that featured two racks of Michael Sam jerseys for sale, along with single racks for Bradford, defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long, and middle linebacker James Laurinaitis. Sam’s jersey is the Rams’ top seller.
Wide receiver Austin Pettis was the easiest player to spot on the first day, showing some fashion sense wearing red cleats and red socks. He said others at his position also have brightly colored cleats that be showing up during camp.
”We’re trying to add a little style to our outfits,” Pettis said. ”I think a lot of people were just admiring them, you might say. Hopefully, they helped me out.”
Dunbar was perhaps the most relieved player to get camp underway. Dunbar was arrested for disorderly conduct early Sunday after an altercation that included NBA player Donte Green, and has Fisher on his side after explaining the situation.
Dunbar said he couldn’t discuss specifics because the case is pending.
”It was unfortunate but hopefully we can just get past it and move on,” Dunbar said. ”I’m happy to be back, happy to be playing football and happy to be doing something I’d rather be doing.”
Dunbar reported at 227 pounds, a 13-pound drop from last year, in an effort to improve on pass coverage.
Rookies arrived Monday and had two workouts before the veterans joined in.
”It helped tremendously,” said running back Tre Mason, a third-round pick. ”We weren’t just thrown out there with the vets and lost.”
Offensive lineman Greg Robinson, the second overall pick, is getting work at guard and tackle early in camp while tackle Jake Long rehabs from knee surgery. Fisher expects Long to be ready for the opener but for now said he’ll be moving linemen around.
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