Rams QB Sam Bradford suffers torn ACL, will miss entire 2014 season
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.
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.
After announcing Bradford’s season-ending torn ACL in his left knee for the second time in nine months, Fisher said speculation about a trade was premature.
At the least, they’ll likely wait to see who hits the market in the first round of cuts on Tuesday when rosters must be at 75 players.
”It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole at whatever cost,” Fisher said. ”We’re going to take our time and evaluate this.
”There’s going to be some quarterbacks that are released and there may or may not be some quarterbacks out there that have trade value.”
Fisher said no timetable had been set for surgery. The coach quickly added that everyone at Rams Park must quickly become accustomed to the 34-year-old Hill running the offense.
”We’re going to move forward, we’re not going to change anything,” Fisher said. ”We have to move on and Shaun’s the guy.”
In all, five starters were hurt in the first half against the Browns Saturday night. Fisher called it a ”nightmare.”
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was carted off with a knee injury and three others — guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers — left with ankle injuries.
Johnson will be out four to six weeks with an MCL tear, but Fisher said Saffold, Langford and Brockers could play if needed in the preseason finale Thursday at Miami.
Fisher said Bradford’s injury was a ”one in 100” rarity.
”The knee was locked and something has to give,” Fisher said. ”Unfortunately, the ACL gave.”
Hill strolled through the auditorium to a meeting as Fisher walked to the podium and Davis also made an appearance during the news conference.
The Rams shifted to a ground-heavy offense after Bradford was injured last year and Kellen Clemens inherited the job. They were 3-4 with Bradford and 4-5 with Clemens.
Unlike Bradford, Clemens was a bit of a scrambler. Hill is more in the Bradford mold of a drop-back passer.
”He makes good decisions, he’s mobile and just understands defense,” Fisher said. ”He’s very reliable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.