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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Why Nick Bosa’s mindset during ACL recovery impressed 49ers GM John Lynch

Nov 24, 2021 at 11:36 AM--

If you ask Nick Bosa, he'll tell you that he's even better than he was before his devastating ACL injury last season. The San Francisco 49ers pass rusher is proving it this season. He has already surpassed his previous career-high nine sacks during his 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Bosa's 10 sacks this season are tied for the fifth-most in the league, and the 49ers defender is the only player with 10-or-more sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.

"I think I've definitely improved a lot," Bosa said on Sunday. "I think I'm starting to get the hang of just how to really get sacks, get numbers. My rookie year, I was just out there rushing, trying to win every time. It worked well, but now I'm really getting the hang of how the sack leaders in the league do it.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR this morning and discussed the road to recovery for the former No. 2 overall pick.

"You talk about ACL recoveries and, typically, you talk about that first year [back], you're kind of just getting your feet underneath you," Lynch said. "And it's that next year, or late in the first year that you're back, that you'll really start playing [at a high level].

"Nick, I think it was like a mind over matter [mentality in] the way he took this thing on. I was talking to somebody yesterday and just talked about his resolve. I'll never forget when he [suffered the injury] at the New York Jets; he was crushed. We were all crushed. Man, he was down. I've never seen someone so emotional after an injury. He was really, really down because he loves the game.

"But then, we were on one of the East Coast wins, staying at The Greenbrier, and the next day, it had just shifted to 'I'm going to attack this thing like nobody's ever attacked it.'"

As reported after the injury, there was additional cartilage damage in Bosa's knee. That typically makes the road to recovery more challenging.

"He didn't just have an ACL," Lynch continued. "He had some other damage in there. That's always a question you ask because if it's just an ACL, guys usually recover — not seamlessly — but it's not that complicated. It just takes a lot of time. He had some other things in there, but his mindset, he attacked it. If they told him to do two rounds of something, he did four."

The recovery and work to return to form included a change in diet and training with his older brother, Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa. Lynch said that allowed the younger Bosa to "come back just ripped and ready to play."

"His mindset, I think it's a great example of [attacking] something, no matter how big the challenge, and Bosa's done that," Lynch added. "And he's just playing incredible football right now."
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