GLENDALE Kyle Williams Jersey , Ariz. (AP) If he stays healthy.

Those words have shadowed Sam Bradford through most of his injury-plagued eight seasons in the NFL.

And it looms large again as the 30-year-old quarterback went through the first practice of Arizona Cardinals training camp Saturday.

I think you have to be optimistic, he said. I think if youre not optimistic, then the odds of staying healthy and the odds of playing well, theyre probably not that great.

Injuries have limited Bradford to 80 games in his eight seasons. Hes twice torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and another left knee injury wiped out nearly all of his 2017 season in Minnesota.

When the Cardinals found themselves without any quarterbacks following the retirement of Carson Palmer, they turned to Bradford, who when healthy has put up strong numbers.

But Arizona also pulled off a deal that got them Josh Rosen in the draft, and Rosen has been impressive in offseason workouts. But for now, this is Bradfords team.

I want Josh with the mentality that he wants to start, first-year Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said. I dont waver that Sam is our starter. Its his job to lose and competition makes us better across the board.

The Cardinals brought Bradford along slowly in the offseason and didnt make him a full participant in workouts until the three-day mandatory minicamp.

His knee, talking to him Will Dissly Jersey , is stronger than its ever been, Wilks said. I think the plan that we created and put in place for him back when we signed him has been phenomenal, just with the training staff, physical therapy, strength and conditioning.

Bradford would say only that his knee feels the best it has since the injury.

I feel good right now, he said. My bodys in a good place and I think now well see the benefits of the plan we had throughout OTAs and throughout the spring.

Bradford signed a two-year, $40 million contract with the Cardinals, with $15 million guaranteed. But this is about more than money for Bradford, whose career earnings are listed at $124 million. He signed the largest rookie deal in history as the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, a contract that guaranteed him $50 million before he threw a pass.

The next season, rookie contracts were slotted at lower levels as part of the new labor agreement.

So what keeps Bradford going Tyus Bowser Jersey , rehab after grueling rehab?

Just getting back out there and playing football, he said. I think you just realize how much you enjoy it, how special it is to be out there, to play the game. Thats really why I do this, why I continue to come back, its to be there on Sundays and to be out there with my guys and play football again.

Bradfords love of the game is clear to Wilks.

Thats what you see, the coach said. Hes made enough money that hes taken care of his family for the rest of his life. But his passion and love for the game and wanting to compete and I think he has a lot doubters out there.

When he can play, Bradford plays well.

The only full game he played a year ago Minnesotas season opener against New Orleans he completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. In his 15 starts with the Vikings in 2016, Bradford completed 72 percent of his passes for a career-high 3,877 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Since the end of OTAs, hes kept up individual workouts Jordan Whitehead Jersey , simulating quarterback moves as he works to further strengthen his knee. Bradford understands that injuries come with his line of work.

They happen. Its football, he said. Thats not really where my mind is. Its not something I think about. My mindset is just going out to practice every day, learning as much about this offense as I can, being a good teammate, being a good leader, being as good a quarterback as I can be.

Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Braden Holtby made 16 of his 39 saves in the third period to help Washington get to overtime. Four of five games between the teams have gone past regulation making fatigue a factor for Game 6 Monday night in Columbus.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie scored along with Backstrom in regulation for the Capitals, who became the first home team this series to win a home game. Holtby has been in net for Washingtons three consecutive victories after replacing Philipp Grubauer in Game 2, stopping 102 of 108 shots to turn the tide.

Fellow Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky allowed a soft goal to Kuznetsov as one of his four on 29 shots in the loss. Matt Calvert scored short-handed and on a breakaway and Oliver Bjorkstrand had a deflection goal for Columbus.


BOSTON (AP) Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then Toronto killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat Boston and avoid elimination.

Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson each scored his first career playoff goal in the first period, and the Maple Leafs took a 4-1 lead to chase Tuukka Rask in the second. Toronto also led 4-1 in Game 7 of the teams 2013 playoff series before the Bruins won in overtime en route to their second Stanley Cup final berth in two years. This time Martavis Bryant Jersey , Boston cut the deficit to one goal but the Leafs held on.

Frederik Andersen stopped 42 shots for Toronto, which returns home for Game 6 on Monday. Game 7 would be back in Boston on Wednesday, if necessary.

Jake DeBrusk and Sean Kuraly scored for the Bruins. Patrice Bergeron returned to the ice after missing one game with an undisclosed injury.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Nikita Kucherov scored his 27th career postseason goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots and Tampa Bay beat New Jersey to end the first-round series in five games.

The 19-year-old Mikhail Sergachev became the youngest player in Lightning history to score a playoff goal and Ryan Callahan, back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury, sealed it with an empty-netter with 1.7 seconds remaining.

Tampa Bay advanced to a second-round series against the Boston-Toronto winner.

Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils.

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