OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -Sam Bradford had long wanted to be the quarterback at Oklahoma. Now that he has the job - and a Heisman Trophy, too - he's beginning to understand more what it entails.
Bradford received the latest in a line of awards Monday night when he was honored as the Headliner of the Year at a March of Dimes banquet. But he still remembers when he was just a fan, like the thousands that stuck around after Oklahoma's spring game on Saturday in hopes of getting his autograph.
``That means a lot to me, especially growing up in Oklahoma. Obviously, playing football at Oklahoma was a dream come true for me,'' Bradford said.
``But to take on the role as a role model for younger kids and try to set a positive example, it's something that I really try hard to do.''
himself as one of the nation's best quarterbacks. He led the Sooners to the Big 12 title in 2007 and then to another conference crown and the BCS championship game last season.
Bradford said he tries to do as much as he can.
``I think it's something that I wasn't really expecting before I got to OU, but the more I've been there and the more success that we've had as a team, the more I realize there is a responsibility that comes with that position,'' Bradford said.
The Cherokee Nation made T-shirts before the BCS title game featuring Bradford, who is of one-sixteenth Cherokee descent, and he has also been featured as a role model by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
``It's great to play football,'' Bradford said, ``but God's blessed me with a tremendous platform and if I can use that platform to help kids and help them grow and mature in their lives, I think it's a really good thing.''
Bradford wasn't at the fundraising banquet to speak on behalf of March of Dimes, but instead to receive one of the awards given to top sports performers in the state. Courtney Paris, the All-America center on the Sooners' team that reached the women's Final Four, Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton and Oklahoma State punter Matt Fodge, the Ray Guy Award winner, were also among the honorees.
oing to go to a lot of great people and a lot of great kids,'' Bradford said.
Paris was only a week removed from the Final Four, where she and the Sooners lost to Louisville in the national semifinals. It was the first Final Four for Paris and only the second in Oklahoma history.
``From the positive perspective, it's unlike anything to be at the pinnacle,'' Paris said. ``But at the same time when you're at home and you're watching all those teams play in the Final Four, you think, `Oh, man. I wish I could be there.' You think, `This is horrible sitting at home.'
``But it may be worse to lose that game before the national championship than to get out early because you're so close. At the same time, we had a great run and it was fun and I enjoyed it.''

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