On a Super Bowl team that featured a lot of great players, Nigel Bradham was among the best.
The Eagles linebacker is coming back for another go-round after signing a five year, $40m deal. He was a free agent heading into the offseason but says he had hoped to stay in Philadelphia despite receiving interest from other teams.
Bradham spoke to the media on Thursday, 24 hours after the Birds made his new deal public. He covered a variety of topics, explaining his trust in Howie Roseman and the life changes he needed to make following following a pair of 2016 arrests, one for bringing a loaded gun into the Miami airport and another for reportedly punching a hotel worker.
Two seasons later, he has a new outlook on life, a Super Bowl ring, and a deserved contract.
I transcribed most of the presser:
Q: How seriously did you consider exploring free agency?
Bradham: It came to the last day (laughs). Obviously I was nervous about it. But I’m fortunate that I was able to stay here, to come back here. We’ve built so much here and the chemistry of what we have, what we share in the locker room, between us and the coaches and the whole organization, honestly – we all enjoy each other. For me, man, it’s rare that guys get that close and are able to come back to their team, so I’m very fortunate and thankful that I was able to do that.
Q: You played your best ball under Jim Schwartz, how much did that play into your decision?
Bradham: I mean, it factored, obviously. It was a tough decision; once you get down to it and you get closer to that market, things get a little tougher as far as decision making. It was definitely a big impact, having him here. He brought me here in the first place. For me, to have an opportunity to stay with him for some time is gonna be amazing.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Jim Schwartz?
Bradham: It’s great man. It’s continued to grow each and every year from the time I met him. We just try to get better as a unit. You kind of want to say it’s a father/son relationship, but it’s not so much that because I feel like we’re kind of like best friends at the same time. It’s something that’s special and unique. You obviously don’t get that from each and every defensive coordinator. I’ve been with my share and him, by far, he stood out the most. I’ve connected with him the most.
Q: Who else was coming after you?
Bradham: There were a couple of teams (laughs), but I’m happy to be here. I mean.. I don’t even really want to get into it.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 14, 2018
Q: The team didn’t really say a lot publicly about wanting to keep you, or that it was important to keep you. What kind of sense did you have over the last few weeks? Did you know they were making you a top priority? What were you getting from (agent) Drew Rosenhaus? What was he telling you?
Bradham: Well, Howie told me that himself during the exit meetings. So I just kept confidence in him and trusted him. He’s a man of his word. He’s always been a man of his word, and when he tells you something, he means it. He told me he wanted me back and that I was a top priority and that he was going to do everything in his power to bring me back. And you saw that. You probably didn’t see it before, and a lot of people probably thought I was gone, because there wasn’t a lot of buzz about keeping me here, just because you didn’t hear the reports. But he told me that face to face and I just kept my confidence in him and it worked out perfectly.
Q: Did you think during that entire time that you would be back? Or did you start to prepare yourself for maybe going somewhere else?
Bradham: Well, obviously I wanted to be back, first and foremost. I didn’t really want to look at it, in my mind, that I would be somewhere else. I just tried to stay confident and keep my composure throughout the whole process of free agency and the market, and I just wanted to keep my mind level, not get so complacent with where I might be, or might not. I was just hoping I’d be back, and it worked out.
Q: You had a rocky start to your Philly career. Looking back now, to two years ago, did you ever think you’d get this extension?
Bradham: For sure, because you set goals man. Obviously I went through some things, you know. I made some changes and got things right and figured it out, knew what I had to do. Luckily for me I’m with an organization that trusted in me and was able to stand by me throughout that whole process. I was able to overcome it. I set goals to overcome it. I was doing things, trying to help the youth, things like that, to show them that everybody goes through something. It’s not just all glory. Anytime you go through some things, obviously I never want to be in those situations again. Look at me. I’m here today and I overcame that. You go through adversity at times, but you keep fighting. That’s what it’s all about.
Q: Have you heard from your teammates?
Bradham: I heard from everybody. Throughout the whole process, everybody was telling me, “you better sign back (here).” I was like, “yea, I know, I wanna be back, I wanna be back.” (laughs) They said, “make sure you sign back, I don’t care if you sign for free.”
Q: What’s next for you and this team?
Bradham: Well, for my game, I know what I have to improve on, and that’s my hands (laughs). I left a lot of pick-sixes out there. It’s just continuing to grow as a player. I know there are a lot of things I can improve on as a player. I’ll continue to do that and continue to stay focused and keep that chip on my shoulder. I still have a lot of things to prove. We want to continue to grind. We know what it takes to get to the next level, and I’m gonna make sure that my job and my role is on point for us to be able to get to where we have to go.
Q: You mentioned the changes you made, what were those changes?
Bradham: Pretty much just looking at myself, and probably some of the people I was around and things like that. And just taking a step back and realizing, at that point in time, it was like, “why is all of this happening to me?” I’m a good guy. I’m laid back and really chill. Some things were just going different for me. I can’t really say exactly what it was, but I know I made some changes, and it ended up working out for the better.
Here’s the full availability:
Tune in now as Nigel Bradham meets with the media. https://t.co/8p4sRIsq3P
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 15, 2018