Sam Bradford won't play in Eagles' preseason opener


Sam Bradford is the Philadelphia Eagles' presumptive starting quarterback, but he won't see the field Sunday in the team's first preseason game.

Coach Chip Kelly said Friday that Bradford won't play against the Indianapolis Colts on NFL Network Sunday afternoon at 1 pm ET. Mark Sanchez will get the start, with Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow both getting a lot of action. 

"He's not real happy with my decision," Kelly said of Bradford. "Just felt he's been out here for two weeks, done a real nice job. He'll get his first work against the Ravens when we get a chance to train with them for a couple days before we play and he'll play in the Ravens game (Aug. 22). So Mark will start the game."

Kelly added that both Barkley and Tebow -- who are battling for a roster spot -- will see most of the action. For end-of-the-roster players like Barkley and Tebow, this first week of the preseason is essentially their Super Bowl. Reporters around the Eagles believe Tebow has the early edge; Barkley had been previously available in a trade. 

Bradford has been praised for his recovery from a second anterior cruciate ligament tear. His accuracy and arm have been stellar during camp. Still, Kelly felt like waiting one more game would be best for Bradford long-term. NFL Network will also air Bradford's first appearance for the Eagles against Baltimore on August 22. 

"It's just he's been out here just for two weeks," he said. "I think the other guy's got a little bit of base and I just feel more comfortable putting him in the Ravens game."

Bradford was disappointed with the decision, but noted that he hasn't missed any time during training camp.

"I haven't sat out a practice, I haven't missed a rep -- this has nothing to do with the knee," he said, via "I think this has been his plan from the beginning."

Kelly cited the season-ending injury Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul suffered Thursday night as part of his reasoning.

"I think he can go. I know he's disappointed but it's just my call," Kelly said. "I think there's a fine line. Part of it, you look at what happened to Niles Paul last night for the Redskins, who's a tremendous football player who's done for the year right now. There's a fine line in preseason games where you are.

Every game, all season

"His first 11-on-11 was two weeks ago and now going out against a team, it's just my decision."

Kelly added that the decision came down to whether Bradford needed the live game reps after missing all of last season and felt like next week's joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens could make up for one missed preseason game.

"That's the decision I had to make," he said. "I think with the training sessions with the Ravens next week I think will help because we'll get two real good days with them in pads with John's team and then we have the game against the Ravens and then you got the Packers. I felt like we had some more opportunities for him."

Make no mistake, barring another injury, the starting job is still Bradford's. He'll just be watching the other Eagles quarterbacks from the sideline Sunday.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast features the gang sharing their takeaways on the start of the preseason.