Wednesday, September 18

Wang’s Word: Unfounded rumors that teammates dislike Josh Rosen should not affect draft

Rumors that Josh Rosen's teammates dislike him plagued the star quarterback throughout his career as a Bruin, but these claims were never backed by much hard evidence. (Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Assistant Photo editor)

Rumors that Josh Rosen's teammates dislike him plagued the star quarterback throughout his career as a Bruin, but these claims were never backed by much hard evidence. (Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Assistant Photo editor)

Josh Rosen is finally gone.

The nation’s top-ranked pro-style high school quarterback in 2015 via 247Sports endured a tumultuous three-year tenure as a Bruin. But despite playing under a different offensive coordinator each season and learning a new playbook every offseason, Rosen cemented his place in the top-three of nearly every UCLA passing record in only 30 games.

And although his injury history will surely come under scrutiny before the 2018 NFL draft, another unsubstantiated – or flat-out wrong, depending on who you ask – off-field concern continues to perpetuate NFL Twitter.

No, Rosen’s teammates don’t hate him. You can cross that one off the checklist.

Reports citing ubiquitous “sources” saying members of UCLA’s football team dislike Rosen have popped up every year, but no one can pinpoint from where this rumor emerged. His teammates – both on the record and on social media – have continuously rebutted that claim, and Rosen even retweeted several screenshots of his teammates coming to his defense.

It’s time for the media to put these reports to rest. Let’s not forget that Rosen was one of the organizers of UCLA’s 25 player-run practices over the summer. Those practices were instrumental in producing one of the country’s most lethal offensive attacks. In his farewell letter on Twitter, Rosen wrote, “It pains me to leave these guys, but I know they wouldn’t let me come back and pass up this opportunity to chase my dream.” If anything, his teammates want him to be successful – fellow NFL draft declaree Jordan Lasley tweeted that he hopes Rosen gets the opportunity to turn the hapless 0-16 Cleveland Browns into a successful franchise.

Sure, Rosen sometimes has shown to be outspoken, and his affluent Manhattan Beach background may initially serve as an obstacle for him in connecting with some of his teammates who didn’t share as privileged upbringing, but his quarterbacking skills, toughness and leadership are more than enough to offset these rumored off-field issues.

Josh Rosen’s career at UCLA only lasted three years, and he missed several games because of an injury, but he still managed to put together a historic campaign. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

If an NFL prospect’s most alarming red flag is a “F&%k Trump” Instagram post, a video showing a hot tub in his freshman dorm or a Bleacher Report interview where he said football and school don’t go together, then guess what – he doesn’t actually have off-field issues.

Rosen never grabbed his crotch and yelled obscenities at the opposing team or got tackled by police for public intoxication and resisting arrest à la Baker Mayfield, another potential first-round draft pick.

While there is a precedent of professional teammates having butted heads in the past – think Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, or Lebron James and Kyrie Irving – there’s no indication that Rosen is an egomaniac. He’s just a college kid, like 40,000 other students here in Westwood.

But come April, expect Rosen’s off-field issues expunged as he walks across the stage as a top-three overall draft pick.

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Senior staff

Wang is a Daily Bruin senior staffer on the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's tennis, women's tennis and women's soccer beats. Wang was previously a reporter for the men's tennis beat.

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