This is the exact scenario that many people — myself included — hoped and prayed would never come to pass.
Several months ago, I got into several debates about Sam Bradford's decision to forgo the NFL Draft, in which he was a certain first round pick, if not the No. 1 pick.
People like me, who believed that he would have been taken in place of Matthew Stafford, criticized the decision as ill-advised. His desire to lead the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship, and win another Heisman Trophy, was respectable, but not enough to outweigh $40 million in guaranteed income.
Furthermore, I argued that sure-fire picks do not automatically retain such a status. Just think about Matt Leinart, who would have been the 49ers No. 1 pick, but returned to USC and ultimately fell to No. 10 in the subsequent draft. Or how about Drew Brees? His NFL career has panned out beautifully, but he was drafted much lower after returning for one final year at Purdue.
My point was a simple one. Bradford was passing on a relatively weak QB crop — one that, at the time, did not yet include eventual No. 5 pick Mark Sanchez. To make matters worse, he was going to go head-to-head in the 2010 Draft with the likes of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Jimmy Clausen. From the perspective of a financial planner, it was economic suicide.
During that time, other writers chastised me as being too narrow minded. They said that one can never put a price tag on Heisman glory, a college education, and one last shot at a national title.
But then, here we are less than a year later, and what does Bradford have to show for his $40 million forgone?
He will not win the Heisman.
He will not get a crack at the National Championship.
He will probably not be a Top 10 NFL Draft Pick, a misfortune that will cost him tens of millions of dollars.
So, now that I can look back with 20/20 hindsight vision, and declare that I was correct, does this make me feel even slightly good about myself?
I feel terrible for Bradford, and this was the scenario that I was praying to avoid.
For the moment, I'm just hopeful that his injury prognosis affords him the opportunity to throw again before October. I'd still love to see the Sooners in a Bowl game with Bradford at the helm.
And do you know what else I hope for?
I hope that future college heroes learn from Sam Bradford's misfortune, and seize the opportunity to go pro when the perfect opening presents itself.
There are a lot of people in America right now who are seeking an honest day's wages.