Ahead of his age-28 season, defensive end Joey Bosa finds himself approaching the game with a little more emphasis on the time and, perhaps more precisely, the opportunity he has remaining.
Pound for pound, player for player, the Los Angeles Chargers have an argument as one of the most talented rosters in the NFL -- at least on paper.
Yet, the Bolts are coming off a historic playoff collapse and Bosa knows opportunities to prevail in the NFL are fleeting.
"Every year, I want to play great. I want to help my team. I think that, more than ever, I just want to win some games," Bosa said Thursday, via team transcript. "Doing my job is, I think, more important than ever. Obviously, I want to be dynamic and make plays and all of that, but I think being a team player is the most that I can be, while still going out there and being myself and making these plays. With the talent that we have, especially with [Khalil Mack] on the other side, if we just do our thing, stay consistent, then we'll both be successful."
Bosa's game isn't diminishing, but he missed 12 games due to a groin injury last year and is realistic about the talent on the Bolts roster and that the window for greatness doesn't stay open for long. So far, all that talent hasn't equated to a playoff run. Hence the urgency.
A vital contributor in Ohio State's national championship run in 2014, Bosa was selected third overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Chargers. He was an immediate game-changer, earning Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year to kick-start a career that's seen him voted to four Pro Bowls.
The stats, the accolades, the lucrative second contract have all been had. But in Bosa's seven NFL seasons, the Chargers have made the playoffs just twice and haven't advanced beyond the AFC Divisional Round. The Bolts haven't gone to the postseason in back-to-back seasons since a run of four consecutive berths from 2006-2009, and are still looking to win their first Super Bowl.
Thus, Bosa is looking at the campaign ahead from a bit of a different vantage point.
"When I say that, it's not like I didn't want to win before," he said. "As I get older, the opportunities get smaller and smaller. When you're a rookie, you have your whole career ahead of you. The personal goals and the personal accolades, I feel like, as you get older, just don't quite mean as much. Obviously, winning Defensive Player of the Year would be an honor and all of that, but going out there with your team, with your friends, with your brothers that you've built the connection with, I think is a much more lasting accomplishment.
"I've won a state championship (in high school), I've won a (national championship), so to be able to be the best in the world … would be incredible. Just going on that journey and trying to enjoy the ride, I think, is the most important part."
That journey belongs for Bosa and his Bolts on Sept. 10 against the visiting Miami Dolphins.