YOU KNOW all that talk about how playing different sports cross-trains athletes and insulates them from injury?

Well, Sam Bradford played everything from hockey to basketball to baseball besides football growing up in Oklahoma City. He even dabbled in the cello.

Some folks are just plain unlucky.

Or injury-prone.

And that's our remaining anxiety as the Eagles and their new quarterback prepare for Monday night's season opener in Atlanta. That Bradford, less than two months short of his 28th birthday, is one of those guys destined to be sabotaged by his gene pool, that no level of protection or safeguards will be enough to keep him healthy long enough to see what a quarterback with his surgical skills can do inside of Chip Kelly's pick-your-poison offense.

"I guess you can look at it as the last step,'' Bradford was saying after practice yesterday about the season opener. "But in my opinion I've already hit the last step. I don't think there's anything more that I need to do.''

What else can he do? Have his knee twisted awkwardly by a defender the way Terrell Suggs did in the preseason game against the Ravens?


Get flattened a couple of times while delivering a deep pass? Got that out of the way too.

We focus on the two knee surgeries within 10 months of time. That alone sent an additional shudder throughout the Delaware Valley last winter when Kelly traded a quarterback with no knee issues for one who had suffered two ACL tears to the same knee within a year.

But Bradford has proven he can take a hit or two or three long before he did so this preseason. At 6-4 and 224 pounds, that has hardly been the problem. When his knee blew out the first time, he was scrambling out of bounds. When it blew out a second time, the contact was so minimal that the injury was not believed to be serious at first.

No, it's the frequency of injury throughout a life of playing sports, and the variety that is disconcerting.

A concussion in college. A third-degree AC joint sprain to his throwing shoulder at Oklahoma, the season after he won the Heisman. A high ankle sprain that severely hampered his second professional season.

Saying when training camp started that "Everybody gets hurt in this game" - while invoking the names Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers - Kelly said the trade for Bradford "was a risk we were willing to take."

Unless you were of the camp that Nick Foles was grooming into an elite quarterback, it wasn't much of a risk. The son of an offensive lineman, Bradford when healthy is deadly accurate, with the passing savvy of a point guard and the IQ of a coach.

"We're expecting a lot of single high,'' he said when asked yesterday about Atlanta's defense under new head coach and former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. "They're going to crowd the box, try and take away the run . . . So we're going to have to just be ready. And be disciplined. And take what's there.''

No, Bradford was the risk they had to take, unless they wanted to more or less take the year off from drafting college players and go all-in on Marcus Mariota.

That, with a roster filled with players ready to take the next step, would have been a much greater risk.

And while we're on that subject, who is more all-in than a quarterback who, if reports are accurate, decided to play out the final year of his contract this season rather than signing an extension at a discounted rate? Bradford can say all he wants that the injury is no longer in the back of his mind. Yesterday's news, though, that talks between his agent and the Eagles had been suspended due to his stellar preseason provides some tangible evidence.

So all aboard for the ride of a lifetime or the ride to oblivion - or at least insignificance. As Bradford said, "Who wouldn't be excited? Especially, what's it been? I don't even know how long it's been. a year and a half? A year and seven months? Nine months? Opening day is always exciting. But when you haven't played in that long . . .

"To be honest, it will probably be the same as it was in every other season opener. Except now I just enjoy things a little bit more. Take time to just enjoy the small things out there. And have fun. Because you never know when it's going to be taken away from you. So besides the normal excitement and jitters, I'm just going to look to enjoy myself out there.''

On Twitter: @samdonnellon