UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has fired back at NFL scouts that question his love for the game.
“I don’t love the game? Really?” Rosen said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “If I didn’t love the game, I wouldn’t be out here getting my ass kicked.”
The Bruins 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior quarterback is arguably the most intriguing player to watch this upcoming season, as he was considered the top quarterback prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft prior to last season.
A year later, scouts are reportedly questioning his love for the game and whether he will take the necessary steps forward to prove himself worthy of a first-round selection. Rosen played in just six games last season due to a shoulder injury, but says he’s back to 100 percent following surgery.
“I love the game. I’ve missed it,” Rosen said. “I can’t wait to play this season. (New offensive coordinator) Jedd (Fisch) is fantastic—a really smart guy who sees the game. This is a big year for us. I don’t think I’m making any news saying that. It’s important for all of us to play to our potential.”
While NFL scouts have wide ranging opinions on Rosen, the Bruins quarterback is eager to prove doubters wrong.
“I don’t know why [scouts] say things like that. Because I speak about things other than football? Come on. I want to play 15 years in the NFL,” Rosen said. “I want to be great. I want my team to be great, to win championships. Tom Brady might be able to play three or four more years. That’s ridiculous to even think about, and that’s the bar. I’ll play in the NFL as long as they’ll have me, as long as I’m physically able to play. Is that love of the game?”
Rosen completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards and threw 10 touchdowns to five interceptions in 2016.
While Rosen’s 2018 draft value fell in 2016, Pac-12 rival USC quarterback Sam Darnold became the top prospect to watch last season. Both Darnold and Rosen have drawn high praise from opposing head coaches ahead of the 2017 season and are sure to continue to garner NFL attention throughout the year.
“All I can do is play and lead this team, and what you see on (game tape) is what you’re going to get,” Rosen said. “I’m not defined by football, but I can’t imagine my life now without football in it.”