James Bradberry has a career decision to make in the upcoming weeks. The 29-year-old Birmingham native, who attended Pleasant Grove High and Samford University, will be an NFL free agent once the season comes to a close.

Before he gets to that, though, Bradberry has some business to take care of in Super Bowl 57. Bradberry and his Philadelphia Eagles teammates will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Once the ball is kicked off, the veteran cornerback will become the third former Samford player to participate in a Super Bowl. He joins Cortland Finnegan, who played for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and Jaquiski Tartt, who played for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. Bradberry, who was a second-round draft choice by the Carolina Panthers in 2016, can become the first former Samford player to play on the winning Super Bowl team.

In terms of team success, this is Bradberry’s best season in the seven years he’s been in the NFL. It’s also the first team he’s earned All-Pro honors. Bradberry was a second-team selection after a regular season when he had 44 tackles, 17 pass deflections, which is third most in the NFL, and three interceptions while starting in 15 of 16 games.

Bradberry continued that in the playoffs. He had two tackles, two pass deflections and an interception in the Divisional round win over the New York Giants. In the NFC Championship game, he had three tackles as the Eagles gave up just seven points in the victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

The win over the 49ers punched a Super Bowl ticket. From a personal standpoint, the win over the Giants might have been sweeter.

Bradberry, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers, was with the Giants in 2020 and 2021. He originally signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the organization. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2020 after compiling 53 tackles, three interceptions, 18 pass deflections, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In 2021, he had 47 tackles, four interceptions and 17 pass deflections.

In May of 2022, he was released by the Giants.

"I wouldn't necessarily call it a mistake," Bradberry said during a postgame press conference following the playoff win over the Giants. "Of course, I didn't like the decision. But I don't know what all they had to process. I know there was a (salary) cap issue. To say it was a mistake, they made it to the playoffs. People didn't think they would make it to the playoffs, and they did so a good job."

He did add that the win over the Giants was "probably top five in my career, right now."

Bradberry landed in a good spot with the Eagles, signing a one-year deal worth $7.5 million plus incentives. After this season, Bradberry should have plenty of options, including staying with the Eagles or returning to the Giants. He is considered one of the top cornerback free agents.

For now, though, his focus is on his first Super Bowl appearance.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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