It was as if he had stolen a page from Number Four's playbook.
The news broke early Wednesday that star Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford planned to call it quits for the 2009 season at a press conference that evening–possibly a one-show farewell tour if he decided to enter the NFL draft in April.
Or had he?
With television news trucks and helicopters fueling up for the trip to Norman to document the announcement, Bradford showed off his pitch-perfect Brett Favre imitation. Only this didn't involve fitting a football through the eye of a needle to a receiver in the back of the end zone. Instead, the OU athletic department let the media know that Slingin' Sam had decided he couldn't make up his mind about what to do.
Or had he?
The semi-mysterious presser has been moved back a day, but it would appear that the result will be the same. All signs point to the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner shutting it down for the rest of the year.
So if nothing has really changed, what's with the delay?
Hopefully the rest of the college football world now understands what OU fans have known for a while: Bradford loves being the Sooners' quarterback. Maybe to a fault.
Having watched Favre hem and haw all summer about ending his months-old second retirement to join the Minnesota Vikings, is there anyone left who doubts that John Madden's favorite quarterback loves the attention and cow-towing that accompany his annual ruminations? What about the elation written all over Favre's face this year after his new team stuck it to his long-time employer, the Green Bay Packers, on Monday Night Football a few weeks back?
Bradford, on the other hand, has little personal incentive to come back this year. His gimpy right wing apparently needs surgery. Any dream of becoming the second back-to-back Heisman winner died on the turf of Cowboys Stadium in the first half of OU's season-opening loss to BYU. The Sooners' hopes of four straight conference titles are on life support.
Depending on who you talk to, Bradford has already lost millions of dollars this season after turning down the NFL in the offseason. Still, however, it sounds like the highly touted pro prospect is having a hard time coming to grips with the reality that his time at OU could be drawing to a close much sooner than he expected.
"I think it's extremely difficult for him, coming back for all the right reasons, wanting to have an opportunity to go compete on the football field, compete for championships and then having all those things taken away from you," Josh Heupel, OU's quarterbacks coach, said Wednesday. "There's a lot of hard work that goes into it and when you invest that much, it's going to be extremely disappointing. It's not an easy situation for him, certainly."
Obviously, it's a decision that means a lot to Bradford. My advice: Take all the time you need.