What's Worse: Sam Bradford Or the Reaction to Him?

It's fine. Nothing to worry about. All the relationship wrinkles will get ironed out and smoothed over. That's what Howie Roseman keeps insisting. He might even believe it.

You can't listen to the radio or a podcast or watch local or national TV lately without stumbling into a conversation about the ongoing conflict between Sam Bradford and the Eagles. There was a report last week that Bradford was so upset about the Eagles' trading up to grab Carson Wentz that the incumbent quarterback stopped answering calls and texts from team officials. Roseman confirmed to ESPN earlier this week that he hadn't talked to Bradford. Meanwhile, Bradford's agent keeps popping off about the inequity of it all and swears his client won't show up at the NovaCare Complex anytime soon. So much drama.

But hey. All good. Should blow over any day now.

"These things," Roseman said, "have a way of working themselves out."

While we wait for Roseman and Bradford to un-burn their mutual bridge, we've heard Bradford's agent complain incessantly on his client's behalf, and we've been told Bradford has no intention of reporting for workouts or competing for a job. It is not a good look for Bradford or his camp. That, in turn, has prompted some Eagles fans and media members to complain incessantly about Bradford's approach and how he should report for workouts and compete for a job. That is not a good look for those fans and journos. Ah, but what's worse: the way Bradford and his agent have acted, or the reaction to it? Let's examine.

Bradford/his agent look worse
Refusing to show up for voluntary workouts isn't the football world's greatest sin. But then you factor in the trade demand and the passive-aggressive refusal to even answer the phone when someone employed by the Eagles is on the other end, and suddenly Bradford seems like he's pulling an Eric Cartman.

Bradford's agent, Tom Condon, certainly hasn't helped Bradford repair his fractured image. In a recent interview, Condon said everyone knows that, with Wentz around, Bradford is merely a "a short-term guy" and that's "not a particularly favorable position for Sam."

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"And I know people say 'Why doesn't he just compete and win the job?' There is no real competition," Condon said. "If you've given up the draft choices and you're the second pick in the draft, [Carson Wentz is] playing. That's all there is to it."

If there's one thing that tends to irk Philly sports fans/Philly media - by all accounts regarded as rational and level-headed folk - it's the perception that an overpaid, underproductive athlete doesn't want to work hard. As our guy Reuben Frank pointed out, Bradford has made more than $100 million so far in his career without producing a winning season or a playoff victory. That's the kind of thing that makes people around here mad(der).

So, Condon, what do you think about all the ire directed at you and your client?

"Not terribly pleasant," he replied.

It's the one thing he's gotten right so far.

The reaction is worse
This is the sort of thing that lends itself to finger-wagging columns and people who like to get worked up. There have been so many hot takes. The takes got so hot, in fact, that one local scribbler drew a parallel between skipping voluntary workouts and the Spanish Inquisition. Not to be outdone, Angelo Cataldi channeled his inner Joe McCarthy and called Bradford "un-American." Because of course. It's all right there in your middle school history book.

On the radio and in various forms of social media, Bradford has been called a "wimp" and a "crybaby" and a "loser." He's been implored to "grow a pair" and "suck it up, buttercup." He's rehabbed two ACL injuries, and he plays a brutal sport for a living, but you don't have to search very far to hear someone say he has "no guts." One person on Twitter advised the Eagles to trade him to the Soul. Another person on the radio advocated that the Eagles somehow move him to the practice squad as a form of punishment. Nuance is for suckers in other towns.

One of my favorite radio calls of the last two weeks began with an incensed fan - one of Cataldi's infamous Dirty 30 - that thought Bradford is a terrible teammate. He said if he played offensive line, and Ndamukong Suh lined up in front of him, he'd give Suh a free shot and implore him to "take Bradford's head off for me." In his imaginary scenario, not showing up for voluntary workouts makes you a bad teammate, but letting your teammate get killed is within reason. Deranged fantasy logic is complicated stuff.

There are crazy columns and tweets and radio calls about this every day now. There will be more. If Bradford ever plays another game for the Eagles - Roob thinks he might actually retire - he's going to get one hell of a reaction when he steps back on the field for the first time. The national media is no doubt working on various Santa references in advance.

Push. No one wins here. Not Bradford or his agent. Not the Eagles. Not the overheated fans and media. But don't worry. It will all be resolved. These things supposedly have a way of working themselves out.

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