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NFL-caliber Sooners facing perils of returning to school

September 9, 2009
Jermaine Gresham reacts after scoring a touchdown against Texas in 2007. Photo courtesy of CHRIS LANDSBERGER, The Oklahoman.

Jermaine Gresham reacts after scoring a touchdown against Texas in 2007. Photo courtesy of CHRIS LANDSBERGER, The Oklahoman.

By Robert Mays

It happens every year.

A college star slated to be a first day NFL Draft selection decides to come back for another year. And the questions start flying. What if they get hurt? Is it really worth it?

The duo that was set to headline the Oklahoma offense are currently facing the reality of those issues.

Jermaine Gresham, the team’s starting tight end, will miss the remainder of the season after doctor’s found they would have to stitch up some torn cartilage in his right knee.

Gresham was a second team All-American last season and is currently the 14th-ranked player available for next April’s draft according to ESPN-affiliated scouting system Scouts, Inc. The senior was supposed to be Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford’s No. 1 target after wide receiver Juaqin Iglesias’ departure for the NFL.

Bradford is facing his own injury issues. Head coach Bob Stoops has said that Bradford will miss at least two weeks with a sprained shoulder he suffered in Oklahoma’s 14-13 loss to Brigham Young last Saturday.

If Bradford can fully recover and perform despite the injury, any worries from NFL scouts might be alleviated.

The problem for Bradford is that there’s nowhere to go but down. The junior is considered the top NFL prospect by several scouting services.

Both players returned in hopes of bringing Oklahoma its first title in nearly a decade, but a week into the season it seems like the Sooners’ national championship hopes aren’t the only plans that may have been derailed.

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