John Bosa, still imposing at 6'?4" and 230 pounds, is squeezed on a leather couch in a quiet corner of a Columbus, Ohio, Italian spot, next to his son Nick, now some 40 pounds heavier than his dad. John is nursing a Dewar’s on the rocks. After talking for an hour about the future first-round pick by his side, the first-round pick of 32 years ago breaks down. He’s crying.
As well as any family this side of the Mannings, the Bosas—a kind of NFL pass-rushing monarchy—know this: Every kid in every draft has overcome obstacles. The hurdles aren’t making John Bosa emotional; it’s how Nick has dealt with them. “Every part of it, every bump in the road,” he says, patting his kid on the thigh, “whether it’s super highs or really dark moments, he’s just handled it. He’s just been amazing.”
John Bosa was the Dolphins’ first-round pick, 16th overall, in 1987. His brother-in-law, Eric Kumerow, was Miami’s first-round pick, 16th overall, in 1988. John’s older son, Joey, was drafted third overall in 2016 by the Chargers.
That Nick’s a good bet to go higher than any of them—he’s seen as the likely second pick this year, to San Francisco—is crazy on its own. And yet Nick’s story is about more than the dominance that came natural to him, that made him feel from age seven that he was just better than the guy across from him. It’s about the obstacles thrown in his way, the final one just as a run at the national championship, maybe even the Heisman Trophy, kicked into gear, and the passion and focus with which he met them.
Some of the darkest moments of Nick Bosa’s young life stemmed from the night of Sept. 15, 2018. But where others might have sought sympathy, Bosa took responsibility.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he says. “Your body doesn’t just do something for no reason. There are obviously some things I was doing that put my groin in danger.”
With 14:05 left in the third quarter of Ohio State’s third game of the season, against TCU, Bosa came screaming off the edge on a third-and-six. He was ridden wide and out of the play by left tackle Austin Myers, and as he tried to bend the corner, Nick explains, “it just popped.”
John, coming back down the AT&T Stadium stairs from the bathroom, caught sight of his son as trainers helped him off the turf.