Dud of the Week: Mark Bradley

On the short list of things the Bears absolutely had to find this season, a secondary wide reciever to line up opposite Muhsin Muhammad was paramount. The leader in the clubhouse coming into training camp was talented second-year player Mark Bradley, but since he can't stay on the field, Bernard Berrian has become a star. Bradley is the Bear Report Dud of the Week.

He may have only played in seven games last season as a rookie, but with 18 receptions for 230 yards in an offense that flat-out couldn't throw the ball most of the year, Mark Bradley had the makings of a future star at wide receiver. With Kyle Orton relegated to the bench and Rex Grossman back at the controls in 2006, the passing game was in dire need of a secondary target to complement Muhsin Muhammad. Grossman has found one, but that player is third-year man Bernard Berrian, not Bradley.

What's not to like about Bradley? He was a productive player at Oklahoma, a powerhouse college football program throughout his Sooner career. He is physically gifted at 6'1" and an even 200 pounds. He has the speed to get behind any cornerback in the league and the strength to make that tough catch over the middle. And before an ACL injury in Week 7 last year in Detroit, Bradley was really coming into his own and starting to emerge as a legitimate threat on the outside.

So what happened?

Granted, the knee injury he suffered was devastating. Medical technology has come a long way the last generation or so, and sometimes it takes a player two seasons to get back to where he was before. However, Javon Walker of the Broncos suffered a similar knee tear in 2005, and he lit up the Patriots for two long touchdown catches a little more than a week ago.

Moreover, Bradley has been inactive for two of the four games the Bears have played, but neither has been because of said knee injury. He took a shot on his hip in the preseason finale against Cleveland that kept him out of the season-opener at Green Bay, and a curious ankle problem put him in street clothes against Seattle. Berrian takes some heat from time to time for being susceptible to ticky-tack track-star injuries, but he's currently scorching the stat sheet with 316 receiving yards and three long touchdowns in four games.

Bears fans are still foaming at the mouth to see what a full-speed Bradley can do considering how well Grossman is throwing the ball this season, but for his disappearing act, he earns the dubious Bear Report Dud of the Week.

JC


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