Chicago Sun-Times

Difficult to get a handle on situation for WR Bradley

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There are two things that strike you when you consider the current plight of wide receiver Mark Bradley in light of the announcement Wednesday he recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is questionable for the beginning of training camp, which doesn’t start for nearly nine weeks.

First, this guy’s had some incredibly poor luck.

Second, just how is it the team came to count on him so heavily heading into 2008? There had to be a reason he was only on the field to catch six balls last season. Yes, Bernard Berrian had a very productive season relative to the ineptitude of the offense as a whole, but what exactly was Muhsin Muhammad doing to keep Bradley or anyone else off the field?

Let’s recap Bradley’s injury history:

*** He tore the ACL in his left knee when he was a sophomore at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2001 and wound up doing most of the rehab after transferring to Oklahoma the next year.

*** He tore the ACL in his right knee during Week 8 of his rookie season in 2005 at Ford Field. It happened at the end of the first half in what was turning into a breakout performance. Bradley was getting loose in the Lions secondary and looked like the run-after-the-catch star the team heralded him to be when drafting him in the second round with the 39th overall pick that April.

*** He badly sprained an ankle in 2006 when he tripped down a flight of stairs in his home. He explained he was hustling to watch a spiritual DVD. That cost him five games. This doesn't strike of the explanation defensive lineman Bryan Robinson delivered when he broke both wrists in May 2002. He blamed it on a home fall on a stairwell, saying he tripped over his dog. Turns out Robinson was actually injured on an ATV, or at least that's the story he gave the coaching staff.

*** Knee soreness knocked him out for a week at the end of training camp last summer reducing his role in preseason and no doubt leading to coach Lovie Smith announcing he was the team’s “No. 5” receiver early in the year.

Before the season ended, the coaching staff openly spoke about how it was a mistake Bradley had not been used more. By then it was too late to do a lot about it for a team that was trying to get Devin Hester offensive snaps as well. It’s a little difficult to connect all the dots with this one, and it’s hard to blame Bradley for anything beyond not staying healthy.

The plus, if there is one, is that Bradley says he’ll be ready for the start of camp.

``He just had some things in there to clean out,’’ wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ``Nothing serious. He’ll be OK.’’

Does it give Drake pause for concern considering the history he has with his knees?

``Not me,’’ he replied. ``Not at all.’’

We’ll see how much pause the team has after Bradley returns.

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25 Comments

Some guys are just injury prone, hopefully Bradley can shake it and become the #1 receiver the team now needs.

That's too bad. Without injury who knows, maybe Bradley could have been the next Berrian. I've seen brief glimmers of that in the past but it's just sad.

I've been approaching the season this way on our often injured, hard luck group of guys -

If one of the following play the majority of the games for us and are still available at playoff time, that would be realistic. Anything more than one would be hoped for and a bit unrealistic given history.

In the following order here's which one I'd most like to see stay healthy:

1. Mike Brown
2. Bradley
3. Dvoracek (but not third by much)
4. Bazuin

This of course assumes Tommie and Brian are generally good to go.

But point is we can't expect more than one the above 4 star crossed guys to make it through the season. So nothing out of expectations yet for me on Bradley.

And a healthy Zach Bowman, Marcus Monk, and Kirk Barton is more important than Bazuin.

Kirk Barton is a sleeper in that his problem is health health. He had more reps of the bench press than any lineman other than Jake Long and comes from a rock solid program and coaching system that reverred him.

I was in attendance at the game in Detroit where Bradley tore his ACL. He was a monster in that first half, and looked faster, stronger, and quicker than any wide receiver I have ever witnessed in a Bears uniform in over 30 years of game watching. Had he not been injured there, I believe Bernard Berrian would have been the third receiver for this team (assuming we still had Moose)in 2007. He has the potential to be the best WR to ever put on a Bears uniform, although that is not necessarily a profound distinction (Johnny Morris barely topped 5,000 yards in a Bears uni, and Walter leads in all time catches with less than 500). Mike Brown has been a great player for us, but to me the one I would choose if I could have any of these "star-crossed" players fully healthy is Bradley. He can do it all, if he can put the injuries behind him. I look at Frank Gore, who couldn't stay healthy in college, but has been relatively durable in the NFL, and is still showing the impressive skills that made him a great college prospect, and hope that Bradley can do the same thing.

Considering that our other options are Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis, and Devin Hester as far as veterans, the only one who could scare defenses is Bradley. Hester is a threat every time he gets on the field, but he has to refine his route running, as well as reading the ball in the air, before he is a true receiver. Earl Bennett and Marcus Monk are going to be solid for us over the long haul, but we need that #1, and neither of them are going to be that guy. Bradley has the physical skills to be that guy, but it remains to be seen whether he has the durability and mental makeup to make that leap. I hope he does, because I would like to see a few more games like Detroit, 2005...

This is not good. I actually agreed with Orton that we had upgraded at receiver. Booker for Moose does that alone, but the other upgrade was a healthy Bradley over Berrian. Remember Bradley had beaten out Berrian(and Justin Gage) before he tore up his knee. It usually takes more than a year to come back from an ACL, but this is year 2. I didn't really expect Lloyd to make the team.

You heard it here first. The stars are aligning to get Mike Haas a real chance with quality reps on the field in preseason. It's possible that if they ever mess up and give him a chance, it may be 10 years before he comes back off the field. This guy is Steve Largent waiting to happen.

Wide Receiver is better than last year. Berrian was overrated and is now over paid. I don't believe he will have the incredible year the Vikings think he will have in 2008.

Haas is good, but so is Bennett who also is a possession receiver, playing in the slot. Monk also is a possession receiver, who may have potential. Booker is possession receiver and will probably start at one wide out slot.

The only real speed at wideout is Bradley, Hester and Lloyd
One of these three must be the other starting wide out, but with Hester's special teams play you have to believe and hope that Bradley is the guy, with Hester getting some work in as well. Lloyd has the skill but does he have the focus to excel, his past haunts him a little, lets hope he makes a great positive impact.

Hey Brad: How is the competition stacking up on o-line in the OTA's. I know its too early to see what the rookies and FA's can do, but from appearences do they have size, where is Hiestand slotting them so we can get an idea of how the competiotion stacks up ! What about Balough, Big Cheese, Barton, Reed, Oakley and the other FA from BC?

These battles are going to be critical to them team this season, the one thing about o-line is that players don't rotate much at all during games, so development of these players must take place in camp.

I agree MSBF and just because he is a rookie don't count out Bennett. I am a transplanted Chicagoan in Nashville and I got to see Bennett several times and I was impressed. He was double teamed regularly and after Cutler had weak QB's and he still made catches, just what we need with our QB carosel. Same with Gaines Adams he is a beast. Williams, Forte, Bennett, Adams and Barton make this a good draft. it addressed needs on defense or soecial teams Steitz (LSU) Monk if he pans out this could be a great draft.

Hopefully this is just a routine scar tissue cleaning, and its being made out to be a bigger deal then it really is. It's certainly gonna be a hard call for Angelo on what to do with Bradley if it is serious? I remember that Lions game, Bradley was on pace for his first 100 yarder. Bradley has flashed the potential to be a gamebreaker. But ask yourself, how long can you hold on to a guy because of potential? I say if Bradley does have a serious injury it might be time to cut ties with Bradley and make room for one of the younger guys that can contribute, maybe it will open a door for a player like Mike Hass or Brandon Rideau, and hopefully rookies Earl Bennett and Marcus Monk will be ready? I do still hope Bradley will be good to go by camp and hopefully the season GO BEARS!!

I like Bradly. He seems to be a team player. Never herd a peep out of him last year when he was the #5 WR. He has the size, speed, and the ability to make people miss. It unfortunate that he has had injurys. I tell ya when the Bradly is in the veiw of the camera on running plays, He seems to have a passion for blocking. Twice I have seen him uproot a corner back and proceed to hunt down another defender. He is a head hunter, has a little nasty streak when he is on the field.
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your right Brando, I didn't hear a word and I knew Bradley musta been po'd and I was asking why the Bears weren't playing him last year.
I feel it's minor but without Bradley we will be hurting at WR I agree Bennet/Monk may be very good but they won't be ready as rookies nor will they get the time - we have seen Lovie sit players before. I have high hopes for the rookies but we need Bradley he can be awsome.

I remember that game in Detroit when he looked very impressive - only to be carted off the field later! But other than the one catch and run for a TD vs the "J-E-T-S; Jets, Jets, Jets" in '06 what has he done?
Personally, I hope he does get healthy and then becomes a great player, but I believe he'll eventually become like Rex. You know, one who held great promise but whose injuries derailed a potentially significant career.
All that being stated, Mark, I truly do wish you the best in healing and hope your '08 season will be tremendous!

I met the guy in person a couple weeks ago at Jason McKie's house. He stood up and shook everyone's hand as they entered the house and when he left he sought out everyone to shake their hands goodbye. Even the regular Joes like myself. Class act in my eyes just because he didn't have to do that. Maybe he's too nice and that doesn't always translate with people unless they are a 1st rounder. A lot of guys aren't practice players and some coaches can't elevate a guy unless they see that fire. Now I know how scar tissue can give the affect of an injury even months after the initial injury and it can suck bad. It's one of the things that kept Marvin Harrison from playing last year. I wish him well and hate that his potential isn't being met. If he was just ordinary for every game he's ever played he'd be an after thought but since he went down playing at such a great level in that Lion's game we can't help but want more of what we were seeing. Star crossed may best describe. I still think he's a class act.

But other than the one catch and run for a TD vs the "J-E-T-S; Jets, Jets, Jets" in '06 what has he done?


Don't forget about that HUGE TD reception he had against the G-Men.... I helped kick start that comeback after BAD-REX played the first qtr....

Bradley also had a 75 yarder from Brian Griese in '06. The longest play from scrimmage of '06 according to chicagobears.com.

Some are trying to make this into a bigger deal than it is! He had some scar tissue removed,a very minor surgery.Lot's of N.F.L. players have this procedure done.He will be back by training camp,so we will be fine.Remember he has been with the team for several years,so he knows the offense already.He will be good to go for the season.I just pray he can stay healthy this year.As many of you said,this guy really has the skills & potential! He is a class act,with a great attitude. He was better than Berrian,but injuries kept him off the field.Minnesota can have Berrian,talk about overrated & over paid! There really is some potential in our recieving corps.I am excited to see what Bennett can do.I have a good feeling about him,& feel we are gonna love him here in chicago!We will have to see how it shakes out in the pre season.I did not like moose! the way he talked smack on his team & quarterbacks! Booker is a class act & a great replacement for moose(see ya!).Too many people talk smack on players when they get hurt.I really hate to see that.Like these guys get hurt on purpose! Come on! These guys want to be on the field,not rehabbing.Injuries are freak & can happen to anyone.I can tell you from experience it is hardest on the player.You go through frustration,depression,& trying to fight through rehabbing the injury! It takes alot of mental toughness to get through,it is no fun! HERE'S TO WISHING THE BEAR'S A HEALTHY 2008! GO BEARS!!

(But other than the one catch and run for a TD vs the "J-E-T-S; Jets, Jets, Jets" in '06 what has he done?)

... Don't forget about that HUGE TD reception he had against the G-Men. It helped kick start that comeback after BAD-REX played the first qtr. ...

... Bradley also had a 75 yarder from Brian Griese in '06. The longest play from scrimmage of '06 according to chicagobears.com. ...


Guys, two --- TWO --- plays over more than a season-and-a-half??? That's what you use to try to refute my point that, even though I like Mark, there's not enough of a track record to be assured of what his future impact will be??
I am not saying Mark CAN'T do the job. His POTENTIAL is apparent. But based on his injury history, can one rely on that potential?
P.S. Mark, may the LORD help your body heal, soon.

Biggs there is no such thing as luck. Guys get hurt and it happens for a a lot of different reasons. Take Bradley, he is a track star who's body just does not seem capable of taking the pounding. Or Mike Brown his body started breaking down over time and does not seem able to hold up to the pounding of football anymore. Then you have guys like Farve who stay injury free for a long long time. Also if you draft guys with a history og injuries then there is probably a really good chance that they are going to be injured more often than a guy who has no real injury history. The Bears prefer to try and draft injury prone guys who have lots of talent and they hope they will get lucky and the guy will stay healthy. Thats one of the problems with there philosophy, they keep hoping they get lucky instead of looking for consistancy. There is also the fact that the Bears like to talk about guys being 100% after multiple surgeries, usually your never 100% after knee surgery, most doctors will tell you that.

Joe F, why do you feel Monk and Bennett will be solid players for years to come without them ever playing a down in the NFL or even actually making the team. I notice a lot of people this year are talking about guys who have been on the Bears for a couple of years and never done anything like Dusty, Beekman, Bradley and Metcalf all suddenly becoming All pro players or people talking about guys like Monk a 7th round pick, Bennett, Forte, and well every single guy they picked in the draft being the greates players ever, like Chester Adams, I have never seen so much hype about a practice squad OT/OG in my life. No one is really talking about the actual proven players and how they will do this year, or the coaching staff remaining the same. It sounds a little desperate to me, when start talking about four 7th round picks all being great and being starters the team has issues if actually need those guys.

Its good to know that Creighton twist his own words. I had thought you said there is no such thing as LUCK there buddy.

Lets take a carpet ride back to the Draft.

Creighton you had claimed that Mendenhal would be far better then any running back that the Bears have on their roster. Why get on Joe F. when you do the same thing yourself. You also claimed that Williams is doomed for having short arms. Hypocrite.

Or should I call you HYPOCREIGHTON.

if bradley didn't have a history of getting injured every year, i wouldn't worry about this minor thing but the fact is he does. if bradley goes down during the season the bears are going to be too thin at the already thin position.

i don't have a lot of faith in brandon llyod. he's shown a flash or two with the 49ers but has been mediocre overall. if the offense struggles this year, and i think it might early, he'll just inflame the situation. honestly i'd rather see the spot on the team go to a young guy. hey maybe he's changed his attitude and is a new player but i really doubt that.

the rookies have potential but all rookies do. i think marcus monk has the biggest upside if he can stay healthy. i think bennet will be at best a hines ward type receiver, a good solid player but nothing to get crazy about.

i think if any of the rookies are called upon to start, its only fair to reason they'll struggle for the 1st few game at least it doesn't matter how good they are. if bradley is healthy for opening day all of my speculation is irrelevant, but then its back to the o-line and qb question.

Now Joe I wouldn't call a Hines Ward type player nothing to get excited about. The last guy we had who resembled him was Marty Booker and it would be great to have him get 80% of his previous results this coming season. Now this is no insult to anyone but who really knows what kind of personality that Brandon Lloyd had on his previous teams? Guys say it like they know for sure that he was a bad guy. Dig this; most Chicago fans call Berrian overrated and overpriced but the message boards in Minneasota talked about him like he was the real deal and I didn't get the feeling that they felt fleesed by him. They feel like they are glad to have him. We can go on their blogs and tell them how stupid they are for feeling that way but I don't think they would see it any other way. T.O. has been a HUGE jerk for years and lately he's been a great teammate and mostly all those guy defend who he is NOW. I don't know what to expect from any of these guys here. I'm not a college football fan so I don't know who is a pedigree and who is dog food.

Guys, two --- TWO --- plays over more than a season-and-a-half??? That's what you use to try to refute my point that,


well, no not realy.... He had that long pass vs Greenbay in 2006, he had the Jets Jets Jest TD catch and run, he had that nifty TD vs the Giants and he and Kyle hooked up for a nice TD vs the Aints.....

Berrian had 70 something catches last season and notched what, (5) lowsey TD's ??? I'm personaly glad Minnesota piad out their A$$ for him..... Mean while Bradley gets let out of the dog house breifly and manages (6) catches but he did get a TD.... based on average, Bradley would have smoked Berrian if they would have just let him play, as he did in 2005 when Bradley beat out Berrian and Gage for the starting role only to see him go down vs Detroit with that torn ACL.... just typing out loud !!

on second thought maybe calling hines ward not exciting was an exaggeration. he's a really a good receiver, but i wouldn't put him in the upper echelon of wide outs. i'd consider someone like randy moss, chad johnson, or even terrel owens to be up there, but does anybody want that kind of circus? if bennet turns out to be anything like hines ward the bears will have done well by drafting him.

most of my opinion about brandon lloyd is formed by what i've read from the media or blogs. a lot of the information about llyod's character isn't good, but then again i don't know from personal experience so who knows what he's really like. i did find one (and probably the only) blog on a website that summed him up pretty fairly, well it sounds fair.

http://pocketpresence.blogspot.com/2008/02/goodbye-brandon-lloyd.html

from the blog's writers point of view, brandon lloyd has the potential to be a pretty good #2 in the league but doesn't seem to have the maturity to be a good teammate. the bears might be his last chance to make it and maybe that might help him mature. ron turner was his coach in college so that might help too. i didn't find anything about him having character issues in college, they might be there i don't know, so it seems like he knows how to act but just hasn't in the pros. if he has a terrel owens turn around, especially if he had a "that's my quarterback" moment, that would be priceless.

i think the vikings might have paid too much for berrian but it all really depends on adrian peterson's health. berrian is a great flanker, he's got an unquestionable deep threat ability. in 06 he showed that with a running attack he can easily stretch the field but in 07 when called upon to do more he wasn't able. i'm not confident that adrian peterson can stay healthy, he's the vikings equilant of mike brown. without peterson the vikings are exactly who they were before they got him, a sub 500 team. the offense will be similar to the 05 bears without him and the defense won't be able to hold up. they'll be able to stop the run as always but their pass defense will still be a crime against humanity. i know vikings fans are banking on jared allen but i wouldn't. being the sack leader for a season doesn't prove much. most guys who win that are sack masters one year and fade back into the back ground the next. adawale, jevon kerse and arron kampmen come to mind.

Anonymous,

Bradley has averaged 16.0 yds/reception since his rookie year, which is 3rd best in NFL during that time frame (from Bears.com). But that is based on those with 30 or more receptions in that 3 year period. And how does Mark qualify? Why, he has a total of 32 receptions over that period! Based on "averages" that is less than 11 receptions per season! Do you want to give a #1 or #2 WR slot to a player who has averaged 10.7 RECEPTIONS a season the last 3 years? And just a couple of days ago it was reported that he had another scope to clean out some scar tissue. He's been injured every season! What makes you think '08 will change the course? He might not even make it back for the start of training camp due to his latest surgery.

I agree with you that talent-wise he is a better player than Berrian or Gage. I believe that is clear! I like what I've read about him, character-wise. But, I don't recall either of those players spending as much time injured while they were part of the Bears.

Because football is such a violent game, so abusive on the body, I can't see Mark being able to suddenly become healthy enough to have a 60+ reception, 900-1000+ yds. season in '08. Can it be done? Sure it CAN. But the statistical probability isn't great.

Joe, I actually read that article that you mentioned and that's some blog from a regular dude like us. Did you also see in there the blog about T.O. being a failure at suicide. Dude, I can't let a person like that sway me on any opinion because that sounds really childish. Plus NO ONE posted a comment. Guys like us can write anything we like and not get sued because no one cares about the info. I'm not saying that all or none of it is true but he's not an insider just a speculater. The grammatical errors and using thus twice in the same sentence is someone trying too hard to be a journalist. Consider the source. I'm pretty sure that some of those things happened but I'm not sure what it was. No one crys and moan on a thriving offense. Usually a guy get that way because he wants to be utilized better. Guys do it all the time. And just like a teammate telling on Benson leaving that sideline of a game, no one would have known about it if they(including that teammate who told the media) liked him. If no one in the media knew what incidents occurred with Lloyd and didn't write about it while he was there that's usually something that someone plants later on to validate why they got rid of someone. We'll see for ourselves should be our mantra,not I heard,so I know what I'm getting.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 22, 2008 8:30 AM.

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