State Sports

October 28, 2010

Sooners lose, QB Bradford pays up


AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS — It's humility week for rookie Sam Bradford.

Not only is he taking the St. Louis Rams' last-minute loss at Tampa Bay hard, his beloved Oklahoma Sooners got knocked off.

The No. 1 pick showed he was a good sport Wednesday, donning a Missouri jersey with his name and college number 14 on the back to his weekly media session.

That helped lighten the mood for at least a while, and Bradford returning volley on questions relating to the Big 12 North leaders, and whether Missouri's academic standards were too high for him to consider that school out of college.

"Absolutely not," Bradford said. "I wanted to win Big 12 championships."

Also, whether this was one of his worst moments.

"This," he joked, "is definitely down there."

Bradford wore the jersey to pay off a friendly wager with wide receiver Danario Alexander, a fellow rookie who played for Missouri. The Tigers beat the Sooners for only the second time in 21 games on Saturday, knocking Oklahoma from No. 1 in the BCS.

"He would have been decked out. I was going to bring a hat and a shirt and he was going to be all OU-geared out," Bradford said. "But I didn't have a jersey for him. Pretty clever."

Walking off the field after practice, Alexander was eager to see the look on Bradford's face when he saw the jersey hanging in his locker.

"The whole Mizzou Nation is going to like it," Alexander said. "Check him out."

Seconds after leaving the session, the jersey came off. Using two fingers, he held the offending item at arms length as if it was poisonous, crammed it into a cranny of his stall.

"It's going right back to Mr. Alexander," Bradford said. "He can take it wherever he got it."

And the game face came back on. Time to get back to work preparing for this week's home game against the Carolina Panthers.

Bradford was not pleased with his performance last week, especially immediately after the game. He was 13 for 26 for 126 yards and two touchdowns, but the Rams were shut out in the second half of an 18-17 loss at Tampa Bay.

A few days later, Bradford decided the situation was not so dire.

"Obviously it's never fun to go in and watch a loss," he said. "At the same time, watching the film it was positive to know there was nothing major wrong with our performance.

"It was just a lot of little things, things we've got to get figured out, things we've done in our wins, especially, that we just didn't get done on Sunday."

Coach Steve Spagnuolo wasn't too hard on Bradford. He didn't believe the rookie had been trying to be too perfect.

"There's a couple of throws in there I know he feels like he should have had better, but I don't feel like he senses any more pressure on him," Spagnuolo said. "It's 11 guys out there trying to move the football."

Still, Bradford is determined to do better in the last game before the Rams' bye week.

"Yeah, it definitely motivates me to come back out here, redeem myself for last week, and play better," Bradford said.

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