ST. LOUIS – Perhaps Sam Bradford's lone non-football outlet these days, his get-away-from-it-all sanctuary, is video games.
The NFL is an all-consuming job for the No. 1 pick, who works long hours seven days a week learning on the job as the St. Louis Rams' quarterback. No night clubbing, no visits to the Arch, little chance for the man with the six-year, $78 million contract to strut his stuff without a No. 8 on his back.
"I might go out to dinner a couple times," Bradford said Wednesday in an interview with The AP. "That's really the only times I get away and get to see parts of St. Louis."
He'll always try to make time for Angry Birds. His one diversion is an iPad game. Naturally, it's competitive. He's ever-striving for the next of the 180 levels, using a simulated slingshot to launch birds at structures inhabited by evil pigs who have stolen their eggs.
"Oh yeah, that's pretty fun," Bradford said. "If you ask me what I do for fun, that's what I do."
Fellow rookie Rodger Saffold, the Rams' second-round pick, has been Bradford's roommate since training camp. He recalls instances where both players would sit in their hotel bed, squint at the screen and play. The only conversation came in progress reports.
"I would look at him and say 'Did you beat this level yet?' And he was like 'Did you?'"
"It's one of the most addictive games out there, I'm telling you."
Sort of like football.
Until early January at least, Bradford's life is an endless series of meetings with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, quarterbacks coach Dick Curl and head coach Steve Spagnuolo, a former Giants defensive coordinator.
"What people don't realize is the time you put into it," Bradford said. "Whether you're here at practice or at home watching film, you're constantly thinking about it. Constantly trying to find an edge for that week's game."
This week, his obsession is 99.9 percent about solving a Washington Redskins' defense that just allowed 497 yards passing and three touchdowns to Matt Schaub in an overtime loss to the Texans. Leaving just a little bit for Angry Birds.
"We've got to be careful. Washington does some things we haven't seen yet," Bradford said. "I think watching the Texans tape we have some good ideas about how to attack their defense."
Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb is among Bradford's admirers, and related some of his rookie experiences.
"One thing that you can't do is you get frustrated or lose confidence at any moment, because once you do that, now you kind of pull yourself more behind the 8-ball," McNabb said. "Guys are going to rally behind you and follow along with your lead."
Unlike last week, Bradford hopes to have the offense in attack mode from start to finish. The Rams were very good early and again near the end in a 16-14 loss at Oakland, but in between they couldn't move the ball at all.
"I think he's made enough plays to keep us in games," Spagnuolo said. "I think if you asked him, he'd probably say he'd like to make a few more. I think all the way around the team, we need to do that."
So far, Bradford said he hasn't seen any of the exotic schemes that defensive coordinators are supposed to devise to confound the new kid.
"In the Arizona game I don't think they threw anything at us that we hadn't seen on tape," Bradford said. "Oakland, they did what they did. They might have had a couple wrinkles but as far as totally out of the box, things we had never seen, I would say the first two games it hasn't been like that at all."
Bradford believes the last time he was 0-2 was maybe in high school. He never remembers losing three in a row, and the fact the first two losses are by a combined six points keeps him optimistic it won't happen Sunday.
"We've done some good things. It's not like we've been blown out, we've been close," Bradford said. "If we'd done a couple of little things in each of those games we'd have a win.
"At the same time, we have to realize that if we want to win, we've got to take care of the small things that are getting us beat right now."