INDIANAPOLIS – After Nick Bosa suffered the core muscle injury that ultimately ended his collegiate career in Ohio State’s third game of last season, it was painful for him to do just about anything.
“It’s such a unique injury in that it’s literally the muscle used to breathe, to cough, to go
to the bathroom,” Bosa said while meeting with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday. “It’s your core muscle. So it’s something different than I’ve dealt with before.”
As soon as Bosa suffered the injury in the third quarter of Ohio State’s game against TCU on Sept. 15, he knew there was a chance that his career as a Buckeye could be over. It wasn’t the first time Bosa had suffered a serious injury – he tore his ACL during his senior season at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – so he had a bad feeling right away.
“Right when I went down with it, I felt it,” Bosa said. “I know what a serious injury is, and I knew my season was in jeopardy.”
Bosa ended up undergoing a bilateral repair of his core muscle the following week, and initially, he held out hope that he would be able to return to the field for the end of the Buckeyes’ season. On Oct. 16, however, Bosa officially made the decision to withdraw from Ohio State and focus solely on his recovery after accepting that he was unlikely to be able to play again in 2018.
It wasn’t easy for Bosa to accept that, describing the immediate aftermath of his injury as “one of the darkest moments” of his life so far, as he realized that he would not be able to have the historic junior season that he envisioned finishing his Ohio State career with before entering the 2019 NFL draft.
“It was the year that I been waiting for my whole career,” Bosa said. “Started strong the first three games, and it just got torn away from me. It’s something that I’ll always think back to.”
Bosa said it took him a couple months to get over the fact that his career had ended the way it did.
“Just watching the games, watching the Team Up North game, all that was painful, even though we whooped ‘em,” Bosa said. “That made it a little better, but it was tough.”
Making the decision to shut down his Ohio State career early was the smart decision for Bosa, though, because it allowed him to slow down his recovery process, as his goal became being fully healthy for the NFL Scouting Combine in March instead of trying to be healthy enough to play a football game in November or December.
The recovery was still challenging along the way.
“It’s really gradual, small steps, so it’s kind of frustrating,” Bosa said. “Maybe like a month, month-and-a-half, two months out I started running, slowly jogging. It was just a slow process. You break down scar tissue, you feel pops and stuff, it’s just not fun. You have to get all your flexibility back, your abs are all mushy.”
Now that the recovery is behind him, however, Bosa is feeling no effects from his injury. He’s been back to training at full speed since January, and he feels to perform at the combine, where he plans to participate in a full on-field workout on Sunday.
“I just want to do everything that I can here to let all the coaches know, every team that I’m ready to go and I’ll be a good NFL player,” Bosa said. “I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt right now.”
While he could have chosen to sit out the combine and likely still would have been one of the draft’s top picks, the fact that his football season ended in September only makes him hungrier to get on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and compete.
“I haven’t played football in quite some time, so I’m just ready to go run, do something in front of some cameras,” Bosa said.
Bosa got his combine workout off to a good start on Friday, when he put up 29 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, the best mark among defensive ends and the eighth-most among all defensive linemen.