Coach Steve SpagnuoloRe: Dealing with Sam Bradford's injury, and is it similar to Ben Roethlisberger's?It's been an education, I can tell you that. I almost have my PHD with all our injuries. I don't know what the comparison is between the two guys. I just know that they are both diagnosed as high ankle sprains. I know there are various degrees of them. With Sam, it's been a battle. He's a warrior. He wants to be out there with his football team. But until we feel like he is out of any kind of danger of going backwards – it's always been how we've functioned since he had it in the sixth game of the season. We had periods where it came back, it was going forward and it was positive, and we kept him out there. But as soon as it started to go backwards, and until it regains and gets to a point where we all feel comfortable, we are going to kind of protect him. At what point did you know his injury was going backwards?Originally he played two full games, came back for the Arizona game and got through it okay. The next game he was a little bit sore but he regained it toward the end. Then he played another game and he was better after that. Then he played a third game. Going into that third game, he was at a point where he felt that he was almost to a point where he was almost the way home but he had a setback. The setback required that we shut him down a little bit. We didn't practice him very much. We kept him out of the San Francisco game, and then he felt good again and he played again. Then it went back. It's back-and-forth with these things. You just never know how they are going to react. If a player insists on playing even though he is injured, does the coach defer to the player or is it flexible?All cases are individual. It depends on what player you are talking about. I am not passing judgment. We've handled things a certain way here. Everybody does it differently at their place.What do these last few games mean to you and your team?We take things in segments here. It is the 15th game of the season. This week is no different than any other. I've said this before but you guys haven't heard it. If we were 12-2 instead of 2-12, our focus this week would be exactly the same. We'd be trying to find a way to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. We've functioned that way the entire time we've been here. That won't change. We take it one game at a time. I know that's an old cliché but I've learned from this league, and since I've been here, you can never be too high or too low. The focus is the same, win as many games as you can in the 16-game season, and see if it's enough to get you in the playoffs. In reality, that's not going to happen for us this year but we have a lot of prideful guys with a lot of character that love playing the game of football and love playing together. We are still looking for that celebration at the end of the game that comes with winning an NFL game. It's hard to win in this league, and when you do, the celebration for at least a day or two is a tremendous feeling.
Dec 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM
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