Chargers’ Joey Bosa puts long-term health first while recovering from concussion

COSTA MESA – Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa doesn’t remember concussion to the Denver Broncos on Nov. 1, and doesn’t remember much about that day or the return trip from Colorado.

“I remember getting here by bus and that’s about it,” Bosa said.

But Bosa was not concerned about the past. He doesn’t want to know how he knelt in his head. For days, Bosa worried about the long-term future after his first concussion in the NFL.

“It’s scary to think about the long term and it certainly affects your mood in the short term,” said Bosa, who has been sidelined for the past two games. “A little depressed for a few days to think about it and the way it affects your brain. It’s hard, but I feel 100 percent normal. I’ve been for a while. ”

Bosa, 25, was cleared of concussion protocol before Wednesday’s practice session and is on track to return for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium. He is ready to move on, but he will be extra careful to avoid contact with his head.

Bosa has always prioritized his mental health. He is well aware of the brain diseases that many football players suffer from. But Bosa had never experienced a concussion as severe as this one.

A candid Bosa shared his experiences and stressed the importance of mental health during his interview with reporters on Thursday.

“With this injury, I think it’s more important than any other injury,” said Bosa. ‘It’s your long-term health and you see so many people losing their minds and there are people around me who lose their fathers to brain diseases.

“It’s always scary when you hit your head. I think everyone in the NFL is a bit scared of that and everyone knows what could happen in the future. So it is just something you want to take extra care of. ”

Bosa said it was difficult to watch his teammates play two games without him, but when thinking about his long-term health, he could be patient for two weeks until he passed his concussion test.

Bosa said he stayed in his room for a few days to rest and came out alone to take his daily COVID-19 test. He tried to stay optimistic, but the mood swings were difficult to control during his slow days.

“I’m sure my brother can confirm that I was a bit restless for a few days,” Bosa said of his younger brother Nick, the star’s defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. Nick Bosa moved in with his brother after his knee surgery at the end of the season.

Gus Bradley, the chargers’ defensive coordinator, said he is not worried about Bosa playing timid as Bosa took the recovery process seriously.

The number of tests he took. The number of things he’s been through to get to this point, I think in some cases, or in many cases, really reassures the players, ”Bradley said of Bosa. “He’s been through so much that I think just going through the process inspires confidence. That part I think he is good. ”

Bosa said he hadn’t thought about the concussion during his first full workout. He will continue to do what he has done as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

PRIMARY DRAIN BACK

The Chargers have used a commission for their ground game for the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a head start.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Kalen Ballage has taken charge of the lead role based on his past two performances. Ballage has averaged 68.5 rushing yards in his two games with the Chargers and had a total of 102 yards in his first start against the Miami Dolphins last week.

Lynn said he will give Ballage more looks, but he will continue running Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope.

“I thought Kalen has done a good job over the past few weeks,” Lynn said. ‘He’s a big guy. He physically runs between tackles. He has a long speed. I’m gonna watch him some more, you know, and it will definitely be run by the committee. Joshua Kelley will keep in touch. But with KB, I would now say he’s the first person. ”

The Chargers needed a primary running back after Austin Ekeler injured his hamstring against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. He has an injured reserve and has missed the past five games.

Justin Jackson had some success as a starter, but he went on the injured reserve due to a knee injury against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9.

“I would say the running back room has been stepped up and done everything to replace (Ekeler), but you just can’t replace a guy like Austin.”

INJURIES

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor missed a second practice in a row on Thursday due to a rib injury.

Cornerback Casey Hayward (ankle) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) were downgraded from full participants Wednesday to restricted.

Tall snapper Cole Mazza did not train due to illness. He was a limited competitor on Wednesday.