A torn ACL isn't the career-killer it used to be for NFL players. Surgical advances have made it possible for players to rebound quicker than ever from ligament repair. Tearing the same ACL twice is another matter entirely. However, it's not impossible for a player to come back after that.
Casey Hampton, NT, Steelers -- Hampton tore his left ACL in college, and then tore his right ACL in 2004 and in January 2012. He played 16 games during the 2012 season, but age and injuries compromised his effectiveness. The Steelers didn't re-sigh him, and he hasn't played football since.
Thomas Davis, LB, Panthers -- Davis tore his ACL three times in three years between 2009 and 2011. He played a full 16 games for the Panthers last year at age 30.
Domenik Hixon, WR -- Hixon tore his ACL a third time in camp this spring with the Bears. He's not on an NFL roster the moment.
And, finally, there's one example that will register a lot closer to home. Washington quarterback RG3 has suffered two ACL tears to the same knee, one in college and one in the 2012 playoffs. He rushed back last season, but wasn't particularly effective. Washington is hoping he'll be better this season, further removed from his last surgery. The jury's still out on how effective he can be.
So what does this mean for the Rams and Sam Bradford?
For Bradford, it doesn't necessarily mean his career is over. He'll have to get repaired again, rehab and then attempt another comeback. The biggest question is whether or not that comeback attempt happens in St. Louis or somewhere else.
He has two years left on his rookie deal, this year and next. He's due $13 million in base salary next season and carries a $16.58 million cap hit. It's unlikely the Rams would bring him back at such a high cost given the risk his knee poses, and they certainly wouldn't be able to count on him as their unquestioned starter for 2015.