Friday, August 28th, 2020

A Double Dose o’ Bosa

Liam Blackburn

Deputy Editor

A Double Dose o’ Bosa

Liam Blackburn NFL

This article originally appeared in Issue XLVI of Gridiron magazine in 2019 – for individual editions or subscriptions, click HERE



There was a time when, like most people across the world, Sunday represented a day of rest for Joey and Nick Bosa. The day of the week synonymous with the NFL was actually a time when the Bosa boys — and their mother Cheryl – could kick back and do nothing. Just like the rest of us.

“Oh my goodness, I don’t think we got out of our pyjamas on Sundays,” Cheryl tells Gridiron.

Sunday is now the day when Joey, a stud defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers, gets to work. And it will soon also be the day when little brother Nick, considered by many to be the crème de la crème of the 2019 NFL Draft, clocks on too. But when the pair were growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sundays were one of the few days when neither Bosa boy was on the gridiron.

“Football literally monopolised every minute of our time,” Cheryl explained. “The league they played in was very serious and where they played was not really close to home – it was not like I could drop them off and come pick them back up.

“I would pick them up from school, I’d have a makeshift dinner made for them in the car, they would do their homework in the car, on a park bench, eat their meal and then we would be at practice.

“Their practices would go until 8:30pm at night, then we’d get in the car, go home, and go to bed.

“Then on Saturdays, because they were different age classes, Nick would play early in the morning and then we’d sit around the park all day until Joey’s game, which was later.”

And Sunday?

“We didn’t move!”
 


“It wasn’t these crazy stage parents that were forcing them to do it. It was their own love of the game.”


 
Football was everything because the Bosa kids wanted it to be everything. It is in their blood, their DNA. Their father, John, was an NFL defensive end taken 16th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1987. Their uncle and Cheryl’s brother, Eric Kumerow, was an NFL defensive end taken 16th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1988. It might have therefore seemed a natural path for Joey and Nick to follow, but it was not one they were pushed down.

“It’s a norm in our family, but if they hadn’t shown an interest, that would have been fine,” Cheryl says. “It wasn’t these crazy stage parents that were forcing them to do it. It was their own love of the game.

“I get asked a lot by parents – and you can tell they have their dream for their kid, they are pushing their kid – and they will ask me, ‘What did you do?’. I created biological specimens, first of all. Without their biology, you have nothing. It’s their drive. It’s not something that we give, but we support it 100 per cent.”
 


“They were crazy when they were younger – just typical boys. They were inseparable and yet, at the same time, it was like, ‘Argh!’. Crazy!”


 
The Bosa boys certainly have good genes. Joey – known as ‘jbbigbear’ on his social media – is 6’5″, 280 pounds, while Nick – ‘nbsmallerbear’ on his accounts – is two years younger, only an inch shorter and around 14 pounds lighter. The two also happened to get some fine football education in Florida at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, which has produced a host of NFL stars. Michael Irvin, James White, Lamarcus Joyner, Geno Atkins, Giovani Bernard and Phillip Dorsett all attended the institution, and it was there where the Bosa boys went from your typical squabbling siblings to brothers in every sense of the word.

“They were crazy when they were younger – just typical boys,” Cheryl notes. “They were inseparable and yet, at the same time, it was like, ‘Argh!’. Crazy.

“They’ve only played together one year and it was the year Nick was a freshman in high school and Joey was a senior. That was the turning point from them having this big brother-little brother conflict relationship to literally best friends. Inseparable friends.”

So in what way are the two different? Their mother sighs, as if fearful the answer will somehow allow Gridiron to decide which of her two sons we prefer.

“This is my least favourite question! Joey’s a little bit more introverted, he’s very cerebral, thoughtful. He’s very clever and he’s a deep, interesting, unusual guy and I really love that about him. Nick’s just a little more fun-loving, outgoing, an easy-going kind of guy.”

It is natural that fans, coaches and pundits alike will be more concerned with the similarities, though.
 


“The flipside is that Nick will have a lot to live up to as soon as he sets foot on an NFL field. Joey had 19 sacks in his first 20 games as a Charger…”


 
Joey has already established himself as one of the NFL’s brightest young defensive stars. A top-three pick in 2016, he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in his first season and has accrued 28.5 sacks in just 35 games so far as a Charger.

The expectation is that Nick will be even better in the NFL.

“My dad went 16th overall in the first round and I went third overall, so he’s got to beat us,” Joey tells Gridiron.

“It’s really not that much of a jump to number one from there. As an athlete, I haven’t really seen anybody as impressive as him. I think, with more time and with more knowledge of the game, he’s going to be a scary break-out in the NFL. He’s going to be a star.”

And little brother has big bro to thank for blazing the trail – through St. Thomas and then Ohio State – therefore making Nick’s transition all the easier.

“It’s paved the way and taken away the unknown,” their mother adds. “Obviously, all the different stages you go through, you’ve got the growing pains. Joey’s third year in college, all he wanted to do was concentrate on football. He had all the agents knocking down his doors and all that stuff.

“He completely relinquished that to myself and John and said, ‘I don’t want to think about this, I want you guys to do this’. We took all the interviews, we took all the meetings, made all the decisions – in his best interests. With Nick, it’s so much easier, because we have all that in mind already. We created such a phenomenal team surrounding Joey, that Nick stepping in, it’s just like ‘Boop’. It’s done.”
The flipside is that Nick will have a lot to live up to as soon as he sets foot on an NFL field. Joey had 19 sacks in his first 20 games as a Charger, more than any player in NFL history had managed in that time-frame.

Luckily, Nick’s the easy-going one.

“There’s always pressure,” he said at the combine. “I followed Joey at St. Thomas. I followed Joey at Ohio State and now I’m following Joey into the league. I’m kind of used to it by now.”
 


“That just doesn’t happen for me! I’ve been split in two, going in two different directions with them.”


 
Cheryl has never seen her two boys play on different teams against each other. That will soon change. Nick will have already been chosen by the time the Chargers pick at 28, not that pass rusher is a big need for the Bolts anyway due to Joey’s production.

Some mothers may dread the thought of watching their children on opposite teams, forced to root for one over the other. Yet, for Joey and Nick’s mum, it will be a welcome relief. After all, she won’t have to wait around in the park for hours between games this time.

“It’s going to be great,” she says. “I’m going to be able to be at both of their games at the same time. That just doesn’t happen for me! I’ve been split in two, going in two different directions with them. To me, that will be fantastic, I’ll have both my boys at the same time.”



This article originally appeared in Issue XLVI of Gridiron magazine in 2019 – for individual editions or subscriptions, click HERE

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