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Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Nick Bosa snubbed in Comeback Player of the Year voting

Feb 11, 2022 at 12:00 PM--

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Nick Bosa might have a bit extra motivation next season. The NFL handed out its annual awards on Thursday, including quarterback Joe Burrow being named the Comeback Player of the Year. While that in itself isn't a surprise, the fact that the San Francisco 49ers pass rusher didn't garner a single vote in the process might be.

Bosa, coming off a torn ACL in 2020, was even better than his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year outing in 2019. The third-year defensive end reached opposing quarterbacks 15.5 times while recording career-highs in tackles (52), tackles for a loss (tying T.J. Watt with an NFL-high 21), 32 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles, per Pro Football Reference. He also played through all 17 games.

It might seem absurd that Bosa didn't receive one vote after a comeback like that.

In December, the 24-year-old defender discussed what it would mean to be recognized for his efforts to rehabilitate his knee and improve this season.

"It would really mean a lot," Bosa told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "I mean, just thinking where I was just a year ago, it was always a dream. Everybody was always saying, 'Defensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, you're getting it.' It sounds good, and it's cool, but you put in all the work for a reason, and my body responded well.

"I actually think I came back better than I was, and I've improved different things about my preparation that I didn't take as seriously before. I think as awful as [the injury] was, it propelled me to be an even better player."

Bosa's teammates felt the pass rusher would receive more consideration.

"I don't know how he's not Comeback Player of the Year," tight end George Kittle said in December. "I don't know how many sacks he has, but I know it's a lot. He just does it every single week. If you don't put two people on him minimum, he's going to sack the quarterback. He's so fast, he's so fluid, so dang strong. There's not really anything you can do to stop him unless you put two, three people on him.

"I don't know how he's not the frontrunner and running away with Comeback Player of the Year and just doesn't get talked about as Defensive Player of the Year even though he's having a hell of a year and people just can't stop him."

Even Bosa's defensive coordinator was surprised by the young defender's level of play coming off an injury that typically limits a player upon returning.

"A lot of people forget the guy's coming back off an ACL, and he continues to get better and better each week," DeMeco Ryans said in December. "It's probably one of the most impressive things I've seen from a player. It's a credit for him for the way he works, the way he practices. He practices hard. Football is important to him, and it shows. There's no reason why Nick shouldn't have some attention for Defensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year."

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