Josh Rosen is excited to meet with teams. It gives the UCLA quarterback a chance to defend himself against rumors he was disliked by teammates, answer questions about whether he loves football and prove that he has matured over the years.
“I’m not going to present a fake image of myself,” said Rosen, who grew up in wealth with his father, Charles, a spine surgeon who was close to becoming President Obama’s surgeon general. “Some advice to someone who has maybe had issues in the past or have these pre-rehearsed [answers] on, ‘I’m sorry. I won’t ever do that again.’ I think you have to be yourself. You have to be authentic. You have to show that you’ve learned and grown over the years. You have to own your mistakes. I think that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m trying to show who I really am, not who I’m trying to be, because I don’t want them to draft someone they think they’re getting and then not to get that guy. I think that’s also what your teammates want. Your teammates don’t want a fake shell of yourself. Teammates want you to be you every single day, so that you’re that reliable rock they can count on.”
His opinions, especially on presidential politics, have set off social media firestorms and rubbed some the wrong way. Rosen once apologized to the school for a provocative Instagram post he later deleted, raising questions about his maturity.
Rosen admits he has “made mistakes in the past,” without elaborating, but added that he has “grown from it.”
On Thursday, UCLA center Scott Quessenberry defended Rosen as a teammate, but Rosen also is trying to put to rest the idea his heart might not be into the game.
“We all work our butt off,” Rosen said. “If we didn’t like football, no matter how talented we are, we wouldn’t be in the position that we all are here this week. I mean, I love football with all of my heart and soul. If I didn’t, I just don’t think I’d have made it through the grind of college. I mean, football is an unbelievable team sport. That’s what’s so cool about it is I’m not playing for my own passions or exclusively for my own passions. I’m playing for all of my teammates. It’s cool when you can throw a touchdown at the Rose Bowl and turn to the sideline and see 120 of your best friends jumping for joy.”
Rosen was asked if the criticism and the questions bother him.
“I think that’s why I’m excited to be here,” he said. “I think if teams still questioned my love for the game after this week and after they actually really got to know me, then it might bother me a little bit more. But I think coaches can really see what I care about.”