Before the 2018 NFL Draft, Josh Rosen was considered a top QB, a potentially franchise-altering prospect. The only question mark was surrounding his personality, egged on by an odd quote from his head coach at UCLA, Jim Mora, who said that Rosen always wanted to know the why behind certain decisions, not being satisfied with just the what. Mora attributed this to Rosen being a millennial, and, well, we don’t have time to unpack that. The important thing is, Mora’s quote and other anonymous character criticisms raised concerns that Rosen wouldn’t get along with his teammates and would rub everyone he worked with the wrong way.
Rosen’s behavior over the last month should put all of those doubts to rest. After a rocky rookie season marred by a disastrous coaching staff and below-average teammates at every turn, in the midst of watching his team crown someone else the franchise savior and looking to offload him, Rosen not only kept his composure, but exceeded any expectations we would have for a 23-year-old in that position.
He went to all of his team’s early offseason workouts, even if those are optional to begin with, much less if your team is on the verge of trading you. Despite getting traded, he still stuck around for Larry Fitzgerald’s charity softball game. He posted a thank you message to the city of Arizona that included well wishes towards the man replacing him, and an offer to give him a great deal on housing. In an interview with SI’s Robert Klemko, he offered these thoughts on the possibility of staying in Arizona and competing with Kyler Murray for the starting spot:
“I absolutely would have competed if they kept me, but I would’ve been kind of bummed about it because I knew I wouldn’t get a fair shake. A GM’s not going to draft a quarterback and draft another one the next year, higher, and then play the first one. It’s admitting you made two mistakes. It just wouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t hesitate to compete, but I would know pre-emptively I wouldn’t get a shot even if I won the competition.”
Those aren’t the words or actions of a young man who expects everything to be given to him, millennial style, as Mora would probably put it. It certainly doesn’t sound like he’s the insufferable intellectual that he was pegged as coming into last year’s draft. Rosen just sounds like a kid trying to make the best of a remarkably difficult situation, one where you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that he got screwed.
The ways he could have handled the situation as a whole are numerous, but he chose the classy path, the high road, whatever you want to call it. He handled himself with grace, took no parting shots on his way out the door, and presented himself as a very impressive young man who you would be glad to have at the head of your multibillion dollar franchise.