An Open Letter To Sam Bradford

An Open Letter To Sam Bradford

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Dear Sam Bradford,

Come back to us. Look, I’ve been the biggest Sam Bradford apologist ever since the Eagles missed out on Marcus Mariota in the 2015 Draft. I celebrated when he signed a two-year extension. I cried out in horror when the team traded all the way up to number two to take the apparent quarterback of the future. I endlessly cited his last seven games as a reason for hope going forward. However, Sam, as much as I’m on your side, you are in the wrong here.

Let’s start by going over the kind of player that you are, Sam. Ever since being picked first overall in 2010, you’ve done nothing to show anyone that you deserve to be a franchise quarterback. Outside of winning Rookie of the Year, there isn’t anything to hang your hat on, achievement wise. You’ve never lead a team to the playoffs or even to a winning record. Your career record is 25-37-1, not even close to enough to be considered a solution, and you have a lower winning percentage than esteemed quarterbacks like Matt Cassel, Nick Foles, and Brian Hoyer. Your career passer rating ranks just between the two literal embodiments of journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer. 20 quarterbacks have started at least 60 games since you’ve entered the league. You rank last among them in passer rating, yards per attempt, touchdowns, winning percentage, and next to last in completion percentage. Regardless of what happens with the Eagles, you’ll have made over $100 million on doing next to nothing in the league.

It’s not like you’re even a surefire bet to play any of those games, either. In your entire career, you’ve only ever started 16 games once. In two of your seasons, you’ve ended the year on catastrophic knee injuries. Even last year, you forced the Eagles to roll with Mark Sanchez for a significant portion of the year. No one is going to bet on you to be the durable, steady starter than is there game in and game out. You are a china doll, ready to be broken upon the slightest touch. Who’s going to bank their future on that?

Listen, I know that there are excuses and there are maybe even more of them that are more valid than for anyone else in the league. I know that the Rams were a bum team. I know that you’ve had trouble catching up to offenses coming off of those injuries. I know that you haven’t had great surrounding talent anywhere you’ve gone. The Rams had a porous offensive line, no talent at skill positions, and refused to invest anything in fixing that. On the Eagles, your best offensive weapon was Zach Ertz, the line was bad again, and you had to deal with more drops than any quarterback in the league. There were so many drops. There were too many drops. However, if you expect a team to bank it’s future on a series of excuses and what-if’s, you are delusional.

It’s not like you’ve had to fight for anything in your career, either. When the most competition a mid-tier quarterback like yourself has to face is Austin Davis, Mark Sanchez, and Chase Daniels, that’s a problem. Did you expect the Eagles to sit put with you and wait for you to get injured with no insurance except for a career backup whose claim to fame is a few nice starts in pre-season games? Did you really think that little of the organization that you are a part of?

You signed a two-year deal with very little guaranteed money for the second year. You had to have known that the team wasn’t convinced that you were the answer. You had to know that they were going to hedge their bets in a little less of a haphazard way than Chase Daniels.

Listen, I know that it sucks that the Eagles traded so much to find your replacement. I don’t like it either. I know that those picks could have gone towards building the surrounding talent that you so sorely lack. I know that it sucks to know that you’re just a seat warmer, waiting for the guy who the team actually believes in is ready to go. However, that’s football. General Managers are always searching for your replacement, no matter how good you are. It’s their job to never be satisfied with where their roster is at, especially with the quarterback position. You can’t get caught up in that. You need to play your heart out, regardless of what the vision of the team is. Even if you’re not in their long term plans, you need to show that you’re good enough to be a part of someone else's.

The situation may seem rigged, and maybe it is, but it isn’t your place to whine and pout about it while the organization is forced to move on without you. This isn’t like the teams that you’ve been a part of before. The starting job isn’t just going to be handed to you. If you continue this temper tantrum and continue to not show up to the team's practices, they are more than willing to move on without you. Doug Pederson loves Chase Daniels. Even though he wants you to start, he’s more than willing to hand his boy the keys to the kingdom if you keep this up.

There are only so many starting jobs in the league. You should feel lucky to still have one after proving so little for so long. The draft is over. It’s not as if someone is about to trade a king's ransom for you, especially considering that the Eagles would have to eat $11 million to do that. No team is that dumb.

It may seem bad, but the situation isn’t over for you. Nothing is a given in the NFL. It’s a league built on competition at every level. Sure, the plan right now may be to roll with Wentz as the team's franchise quarterback, but plans aren’t static. Things change. It’s your time to fight hard for your spot and to show them that they made the wrong choice in drafting Wentz. If you really are good enough to be the guy going forward, and show it on the field, the Eagles will be more than happy to start you as long as you deserve it. In a couple of years, when the league becomes quarterback needy again, Carson Wentz can be shipped off for a similar boatload of picks that the team traded up for him. If not, there are plenty of other teams that would love to take a quarterback of your caliber if you really are that good. Look at Drew Brees. When the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers, he wasn’t constantly looking over his own shoulder. Even though he wasn’t their quarterback of the future, he showed that he could be someone else’s and has become an all-time great on his second team. I know that competition can be scary, but players are defined by whether they fold or rise to the occasion when the odds are down and they face that pressure.

Just a month ago, your coach, Doug Pederson said, “Honestly, if you’re the starter, who cares? Who cares? Why are you looking over your shoulder if you’re the starter? And that’s the way Sam has to approach this, even with Chase there. And even if we go out and draft a quarterback this year. If you’re the guy, you’re the guy. You’re looking forward and not behind. If you’re constantly looking behind, that’s a problem.”

I would suggest you trust your coach and adhere to that advice.
Cover Image Credit: Philly.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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