The three-minute video was approaching 10,000 likes on Twitter when the NFL announced Thursday that Joey Bosa had been nominated for its highest award for sportsmanship.
In the video, Bosa is shown destroying various Buffalo Bills during his three-sack, nine-tackle performance from Sunday.
The soundtrack includes football pads relentlessly crashing together, a parade of grown-man grunts and Bosa repeatedly punctuating plays with language that rightly can be described as powder blue.
“It’s a little shocking I think,” Bosa joked of his Art Rooney Award nomination, “after that miked up.”
According to the league’s news release, the award is given to “recognize players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.”
The star defensive end was miked up by the Chargers’ social media team on the same day he had his most productive NFL game. The fact Bosa also provided such colorful commentary was a bonus.
He finished with six tackles for loss and five quarterback hits while also recovering a fumble and being credited with a pass knocked down. The three sacks during the 27-17 road loss marked a career high.
“Just a fascinating game for him,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He can truly affect the game, in more ways than one, not just rushing the quarterback but also playing the run and making plays in critical [moments].”
Each NFL team nominated a candidate for the Rooney Award, which was founded in 2014. In his fifth season, Bosa has emerged as one of the Chargers’ leaders and a player teammates and opponents alike admire. He often can be seen after games exchanging tips with the linemen with whom he and the Chargers just fought.
“It’s still very surreal to me that people look up to me for advice,” Bosa, 25, said. “I have to watch the things I say a lot more … because people take it to heart.”
Bosa also has become one of the Chargers’ leading spokesmen, a regular in the team’s rotation of players who meet with the media via videoconference. His session Thursday lasted nearly 18 minutes and included Bosa talking about everything from this difficult Chargers season to the end of his career at Ohio State.
For a player who, in the past, wasn’t always available to reporters during game weeks, Bosa has accepted an expanded role after signing a five-year, $135-million extension in August.
On Thursday, he was asked about the difference between his persona on and off the field, and if he can simply flip a switch.
“It’s just, I guess, who I am and what comes out when I get excited or whatever,” Bosa said. “I don’t really see it as a switch. Football, I don’t know, it brings out a different form of me. That’s probably why I fell in love with it to begin with because it turns me into something and let’s me express myself in ways that I usually don’t or usually don’t even want to. It’s a different world out there.”
With his new contract, Bosa has the sort of security few around this organization possess these days.
The Chargers are 8-19 over the past two seasons and have spent nearly two years in last place in the AFC West. They haven’t won a division game since Dec. 30, 2018.
Significant changes are expected after the season, with coach Anthony Lynn now routinely facing questions about his future.
When asked why he believes the franchise eventually can turn around its fortunes, Bosa pointed to young players such as safety Derwin James and linebacker Drue Tranquill, both of whom have missed major time because of injuries.
He also noted the arrival of Justin Herbert, the rookie quarterback who, through his first 10 starts, has shown all the indications of being a Chargers cornerstone.
“I don’t think anybody knew he was going to be this good out there,” Bosa said. “Can’t be more proud of him. He does a good job leading. He’s got a good head on his shoulders.”
On Sunday, the Chargers face a New England team that has won three of four games and is fighting for a playoff spot.
Bradley, noting Bosa’s work ethic and dependability, knows the Chargers’ chances hinge heavily on the play of their top defender.
“Now,” Bradley said, “the challenge is we need another week from him.”
Bosa was limited in practice Thursday because of what he called inflammation in his shin. He did add that he’d “be fine by Sunday.” ... Cornerback Casey Hayward (groin), linebacker Denzel Perryman (back) and wide receiver Joe Reed (ribs) all missed practice for the second consecutive day. Defensive tackle Justin Jones (not injury related) also didn’t practice Thursday. Those limited included cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot), defensive end Uchenna Nwosu (chest) and running back Kalen Ballage (ankle). Wide receiver Mike Williams (not injury related), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (illness), right guard Trai Turner (ankle) and punter Ty Long (hip) all practiced in full.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.