Chargers star Joey Bosa learns to channel his intensity

INGLEWOOD – Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was shocked and a little embarrassed to find out he had been nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

“Yeah, it’s a bit shocking after that last mic, but no, it’s great,” Bosa said, referring to his blasphemous audio from last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. “I still find it very unreal that people look to me for advice and I have to pay a lot more attention to the things I say.”

Bosa’s mic-up video had a lot of censorship bleeps, but it showed his intensity and passion on a career day where he had three sacks, six tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, and one fumble.

It was a beastly performance that led to Bosa receiving high praise from Bills’ offensive linemen. With many injuries on the defensive side, the Chargers will need that kind of performance again on Sunday from Bosa against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium.

Bosa has the respect of his NFL peers, which is why many opposing defensive and offensive linemen seek tips and advice from Bosa after games.

“It means a lot to me when an O-lineman or a young guy from the other team wants to come up to me after a game and ask questions,” Bosa said. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I try to make it more personal and try to work one-on-one with guys to help them as best I can. ”

Bosa graciously helps competitors to help is one of the many reasons he was selected as the team representative for the sportsmanship award. But Bosa does not do favors during competitions. He’s relentless in the trenches turning into an animal, as he called himself after a bag last week.

“I really wouldn’t call it a switch,” Bosa said when asked about his in-game persona. ‘I’m not really doing anything about it. It’s just, I guess, who I am and what comes out when I get turned on or whatever. I don’t really see it as a switch. I think football, I don’t know, it brings out a different shape of me and that’s probably why I fell in love with it in the beginning because it turns me into something.

‘I can express myself in ways that I usually don’t or usually don’t even want to because I’m not in that intense mood or whatever. It’s a different world out there. ”

Bosa seems to be a different person this season and is expressing more in press conferences. He recently shared his affinity with anime TV shows and how he got teammate Emeke Egbule in ‘Attack on Titan’. Bosa made a greeting gesture from that show after a bag to the Bills, and the Chargers posted a photo of it to Twitter, which received more than 8,500 retweets.

The Chargers probably got a lot of new fans from the anime community because of Bosa’s pocket celebration.

“I know only a small group could recognize that, but I had to throw it out,” Bosa said. “I was probably watching 15 men on the sidelines (looking for Egbule). We look at each other as we do it. It’s pretty cool. ”

Bosa also makes contact with teammates in various ways this season. He is no longer the star player leading by example. Bosa said he made it a priority this season to be more empowered and talk to teammates on the sidelines for in-game adjustments.

“I’ve been trying to be a better leader lately, except by only bringing boys,” Bosa said. ‘But I think things work a little bit better than rah-rah in a group or whatever. I like to pull a guy aside and have a one-on-one conversation, say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? What do you think?’ I feel personal, that is much more effective for me. I like it when people do that to me. ”

Bosa said he has been feeling more pressure since signing a five-year $ 135 million extension with the Chargers over the summer. Usually it’s the opposite for players looking for a second contract, but maybe Bosa wants to earn his highest paid defender title by improving in all areas, not just on the field.

Bosa may be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but he also seeks guidance from teammates. He received that from Brandon Mebane before retiring this year and now gets wisdom from Linval Joseph, a veteran in the nose who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants and had many winning seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before joining this season joined the Chargers.

“He makes me laugh and when I slack off a bit, he knocks me aside and gets me going,” Bosa said of Joseph.

“Not a lot of people do that to me, so having a guy like that who won’t let me down for a second, and I basically give him the same jokes … he’s been really great to me.”

Bosa also takes inspiration from Sean Fredella, a four-time cancer survivor who is now fighting for childhood cancer awareness. Bosa and Fredella got in touch while Bosa was in the state of Ohio, and Fredella told him that only 4% of cancer research funding goes to childhood cancer.

Bosa will support Fredella’s “More Than 4 Athletics” campaign by wearing shiny gold cleats on Sunday for “My Cause, My Cleats” week in the NFL.

“He texted me after the game, ‘Man, why do you go off every time you play the bills?’ Bosa said about Fredella’s message.

The Chargers need their intense leader and star player with different personas to fight the Patriots again.