A National Football League quarterback has to be smart, skilled, strong and a leader of men. Next season, three young Native men could be holding down this esteemed position.
The lock is Sam Bradford, Cherokee, the starting QB for the St. Louis Rams since being drafted first overall out of the University of Oklahoma in 2010. At OU Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, the first Native player to do so. In his first season Bradford was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Although injuries slowed him in 2011, Bradford had his best year yet in 2012 and the team rebounded after a horrible 2-14 record in 2011. Under new coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams improved to 7-8-1 last year, and hopes are high for more improvement in 2013.
Recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles is GJ Kinne, Creek, the dual threat out of the University of Tulsa. In 2012 he went undrafted but was signed by the New York Jets. Although he didn't make the Jets squad (a certain Tim Tebow signing threw everyone for a loop), Kinne picked up game time and quality experience in both the Arena Football League and the United Football League. Now, Kinne will compete for a spot on the Philly roster, behind Michael Vick, another mobile QB. The prep All-American was a star at Tulsa, leading the team to three straight bowl games and earning Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors his junior year.
Finally, the 2013 NFL Draft closed over the weekend without Tennessee Volunteers QB Tyler Bray, Citizen Potawatomi, being selected. Bray, who left school early to enter the draft, was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, though, where he'll compete for a spot on coach Andy Reid's rebuilding squad. Once thought to be a lock as a first-round pick in perhaps even this year's draft, Bray slipped through the cracks after a disappointing 2012 season in Knoxville. He's got all the talent in the world, and he's not got the chance to prove all the NFL teams wrong for not drafting him.