Sam Bradford Asked to Autograph Baby
Quarterback Sam Bradford has many more autograph requests ahead of him once his playing days are over at Oklahoma. He's expected to be an early selection in the NFL Draft if he turns pro after his upcoming junior season, and after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2008, he'll have a subset of football collectors chasing his signature even if he never plays a down as a pro.
Even while still in school, Bradford has learned that people may ask him to ink up anywhere at any time. Still, even he was a little surprised by the request he received while out for dinner with friends near the Oklahoma campus recently.
A couple with a baby boy just a few months old asked Bradford if he could autograph their son. Though he found it "strange," he obliged by signing on the baby's onesie.
"[It] was a little bit different," Bradford said to USA Today. "I never pictured that happening before."
Though most Bradford autograph stories are more mundane than that one, the Sooners are growing accustomed to the demand for their quarterback and other players returning to a team that should be one of the best in the country in 2009. The team has recently changed their policy on its annual fan day, limiting supporters to a single item to be signed by football players, and is considering further steps to combat the practice of reselling autographs on eBay and other online auction sites.
Bradford will likely be getting paid for his signature by football card manufacturers and other companies before too long, but he can't receive any payment for it while he's still a student-athlete. That's one of the reasons his school is trying to crack down on overzealous autograph hunters.
"Enforcement is difficult but that doesn't absolve us (from trying to deal with it)," Oklahoma sports information director Kenny Mossman said to USA Today. "Beyond the rules, it's the taking advantage of players that we'd like to stop."