Sam blinked first.
And, ultimately, he made the only logical play he had left.
The short-lived standoff between Sam Bradford and the Eagles' organization came to an anticlimactic conclusion when the quarterback showed up to the NovaCare Complex on Monday morning (see story). As far as holdouts go, this one, which lasted just a couple weeks during the voluntary period of the offseason, was pretty lame (see story).
So after stomping his feet, requesting a trade, and staying away from the team, Bradford on Monday firmly tucked his tail between his legs, threw on a sleeved red No. 7 jersey, and made his way onto the practice field.
"The business-side of football is sometimes a necessary consideration," Bradford said in a statement (see story). True that, Sam.
But make no mistake about it: Bradford's decision to return to the team Monday was just as much of a business decision as his trade demand from two weeks ago. Bradford said he's committed to the Eagles and his teammates - which is probably true to varying degrees - but his decision to come back now was in his best interest, too.
Sure, it's going to be awkward. The kind of awkward that happens when someone greets a high-five with a fist-bump. But Bradford's teammates - as clichéd as it is - are going to welcome him back with open arms. By all accounts, he's well-liked in the locker room and he does give the team its best shot in 2016, which is why he's still the starter.
Head coach Doug Pederson wasted no time upon his arrival to town saying that Bradford was the team's starting quarterback in 2016. And the team has held that position ever since, even after it drafted Carson Wentz with the No. 2 pick. But just after the draft concluded on April 30, Pederson admitted Bradford was missing valuable time in the offense. After Pederson made that admission, he was asked if Bradford's status as the team's starter was in jeopardy. This is what he said:
"Well, I think it depends on how and when he does come back and how fast we can catch him up and put him back in that situation and see where he's at, at that time."
That answer had to serve as a pretty clear message through the media to an MIA Bradford. Here's the interpretation: Get your butt back here or we'll have to go in another direction this year.
So, what's worse than being a starter on a team with which you have no future?
Being a backup on that very same team, unable to earn a long-term deal in another city.
After all, that's what Bradford wants. He wants to be the man. After all the turnover and new offenses and injuries in his career, he wants to have a chance to be a quarterback of a franchise for the long haul. Really, it's a logical desire. But that's where Bradford and his agent Tom Condon overvalued the quarterback. At the onset of this mini holdout, there was a slim market for Bradford's services and if there was a chance a team wanted to sign him to a long-term deal in the offseason, Bradford would likely already be gone.
By the time Condon went public to voice his client's displeasure, that slim market for Bradford's services became slimmer. The market for Bradford was already lean, but the Eagles refused to feed it by reportedly requesting such a high return for him. Remember, they really didn't want to trade Bradford in the first place, so unless they got back a haul (very unlikely), they were happy to hang onto their quarterback.
The standoff commenced. There, of course, were other options. Bradford could have retired or waited the team out, hoping to force their hand. The problem for Bradford was he had much more to lose than did the Eagles. In this game of chicken, he was the guy standing on the railroad tracks.
The train wasn't going to veer, so he had to.
In Game of Chicken, Sam Bradford Wisely Blinked First
Sam blinked first.