Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was asked about his draft preparation a year ago, a process that ended with him being selected No. 3 overall. He trained for the drills, the shuttle runs and the sprints. He trained for the weight lifting, and he even took a practice Wonderlic test, the timed aptitude test used by NFL evaluators.
“Did pretty well,” Bosa said, pausing to smirk. “I’m not as dumb as I may sound or look.”
Bosa certainly didn’t sound dumb Tuesday as he defended his decision to skip portions of the Chargers’ offseason program. After injuring his hamstring last season, Bosa began working with an anonymous trainer (Bosa said the trainer has asked him not to mention his name).
Something in the workouts clicked and made Bosa a full-on believer. And, so instead of doing on-field conditioning workouts with his team, he’s gone about creating his own path.
“I just found a guy who really knows what he’s talking about and my body changed in ways I could never have imagined last year,” he said. “Pain in certain parts of my body that I’ve had chronically for years and years was suddenly gone after going through this process and this program. After that and after the year I had last year, I saw no reason why I would ever change what I’m doing.
“I wanted to continue with it.”
The workouts aren’t intended to improve Bosa’s tackling or how he uses his hands to shed blockers. They’re to make him a better athlete, leaving the coaches to help him improve on the football aspects during the minicamps this summer.
Bosa said he’s gotten the full support of the Chargers’ defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, and the team’s defensive line coach, Giff Smith.
“They trust me. All the guys on the team, you could ask them if I’m out there sitting on the couch or if I’m working. But, it is voluntary,” Bosa said. “…I think when it comes to your body, you have to do what you think is right. It’s nothing against the team. It’s just what I think is right for my body.”
New Chargers coach Anthony Lynn wasn’t exactly secretive in his desire to have his players choose to be a part of the team’s offseason program, but Tuesday said he too trusted Bosa to do what’s best.
“He’s one of the hardest working guys on the football team,” Lynn said. “I’m not worried about his conditioning or anything like that.”
Bosa, who won the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year award last season, said he’d continue to miss the team’s training sessions with the exception of minicamp days, such as Tuesday, when the offense and defense are allowed to be on the field competing at the same time.
“The team has been notified of this,” he said. “They have a list. I’ve been over-communicating with everybody for months now. It’s no secret to anybody. I’ll be here, back and forth. When we’re on the field playing football, I’ll be here.”
During offensive drills Tuesday, veteran Matt Slauson lined up at left guard, a shift after playing almost every snap last season at center.
Spencer Pulley, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year, delivered the snaps to Philip Rivers while Kenny Wiggins played right guard with Orlando Franklin sidelined.
“We’re rolling guys right now, looking at different guys at different positions,” Lynn said. “We’re looking at [Slauson] at left guard. He’s played there before in the past for me and did a pretty good job.”
For Rivers, a change at center is nothing new as the team hasn’t settled on a full-time replacement for Nick Hardwick, who manned the position for 10 years but retired after the 2014 season.
“However it all ends up, yeah, I think that’s very important,” Rivers said. “Obviously, the QB-center exchange is very important. It’s a guy that I spend a great deal of time with, both in protections, and communicating my points and those sorts of things. That’s definitely something. And I have [to have] an emphasis from my standpoint so that that is a non-issue when we get to the fall.”
Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams, defensive backs Jason Verrett and Jahleel Addae and linebacker Jerry Attaochu were among the players not participating in team drills because of injury. Addae’s undisclosed injury was suffered earlier this summer after signing a four-year deal worth more than $20 million. …Tight end Antonio Gates had something come up and didn’t attend Tuesday’s minicamp, Lynn said. … Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, who set career highs in every receiver category last season, signed his restricted free-agent tender, keeping him with the Chargers on a one-year deal.
Follow Dan Woike on Twitter @DanWoikeSports