MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Rhett Bomar didn't spend much time tracking the rise of Sam Bradford and the rest of his former Oklahoma teammates or watching them play for a national championship.
Too painful, too strange, too unproductive.
"I didn't really follow them. I didn't watch," said Bomar, once the Sooners' starting quarterback. "It was just kind of awkward and weird."
Bomar was busy salvaging his career at Sam Houston State, where he headed after he and two teammates were dismissed from Oklahoma for getting paid for work they didn't do at a car dealership in 2005. Now, it's possible that Bomar will be drawing paychecks in the NFL soon.
Bomar is a quarterback for the North team in Saturday's Senior Bowl, trying to bolster his stock for the NFL draft. He's back throwing passes to former Sooner wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias behind the blocks of ex-Oklahoma lineman Phil Loadholt.
Bomar is also fielding questions from NFL teams about the actions that led to his exile from the Sooners and cleared the way for Bradford to take over the starting job. He doesn't shy away from the subject.
"They're gonna ask. It's not that big a deal to them," Bomar said. "They're going to ask just to clear the air, just to hear from me. Once you get past that at the beginning, it's just the straight football stuff that matters."
Bradford won a Heisman Trophy while Bomar, one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school, was putting up strong numbers with far less attention at Sam Houston State. The Sooners lost to Florida in the BCS national championship game.
Bomar said he didn't spend much time thinking it could have been him out there.
"You can't do it. Of course, you know it should and it would but you can't do that," he said. "You'd just get mad. It'd just drive you crazy. You can't think about it."
Instead, he thought about his future.
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Bomar will be eligible the NFL draft, while Bradford is returning for his junior season. Despite playing in only 19 games for Sam Houston State, Bomar finished as the school's career leader in passing and total offense.
He ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision in total offense and fourth in passing as a senior. As a junior, Bomar became one of 11 FCS players to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in a game against North Dakota State.
NFL scouts noticed even if he wasn't playing on national television — even if he was in the Southland Conference instead of the Big 12.
"It doesn't matter where you play," Bomar said. "If you're good enough they'll find you.
"My situation was different. It wasn't like I wasn't playing at a big school," he added. "I knew if I just worked hard and played hard, then I could get this opportunity."
Bomar and Iglesias have both been working out at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta leading up to the draft.
Iglesias said there were no hard feelings from Bomar's situation. The NCAA initially stripped Oklahoma of its eight victories in 2005, but reinstated them last year. Bomar was a redshirt freshman that season.
The school also lost two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.
"It shows you that whatever happens, you've just got to roll with it," Iglesias said. "You've got to live with the moment. All that stuff is in the past. It was unfortunate but we're both here now. So that's what matters.
"He was cool when he was with us, and he's a cool dude now. He's just the same guy. He might have matured, but he's just cool to me and he's just my friend."
He also isn't counting out the possibility that the Sooners could have had just as much success with Bomar taking snaps instead of Bradford.
"The success would have been the same, if not better," Iglesias said. "I really believe in Rhett's talent and what he can do on the field. They're both good quarterbacks, so I don't think it would have mattered who would have been in."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.