Seahawks Alumni Series: ‘The Boz’ Brian Bosworth gets real about his career

Mar 5, 2023, 3:19 PM

Seahawks Brian Bosworth...

Seahawks LB Brian Bosworth lines up for a play against the Chicago Bears in 1987. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

There are only a handful of players in Seahawks history as memorable as Brian Bosworth, who is perhaps best known as “The Boz.”

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A national champion at Oklahoma who won the Butkus Award in back-to-back seasons in 1985 and 1986 as the best linebacker in college football, Bosworth arrived in Seattle with a lot of hype, and he had the look and personality to match it.

Despite talent and his high expectations, though, Bosworth clearly didn’t have the kind of career many thought he would, including himself. He had a good rookie season, registering four sacks and two fumble recoveries in 12 games, but a shoulder injury forced him to retire in 1989 after playing just two games in what was his third and final NFL season.

Now, Bosworth is known just as much for his acting career, as he’s starred in numerous movies and TV shows as well as current Dr. Pepper commercials. When he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Friday for the latest in their Seahawks Alumni Series, however, Bosworth was surprisingly candid when the conversation turned to his playing career.

“It’s haunting for me. It’s haunting for me because I didn’t do what I wanted to do,” Bosworth said to Bob Stelton and his friend and former Seahawks teammate Dave Wyman about when he thinks back on his time with the Seahawks. “I was impatient, I didn’t know how to handle it.”

Bosworth was speaking specifically about the shoulder injury that would end his career prematurely, something that he played through in his second season rather than getting a surgery that was recommended to him by one doctor.

“I knew in the offseason of that first year something was wrong, and yet I just listened to them even though I had a doctor down in LA going, ‘You kinda need surgery,'” he said. “… I’d never been injured before, not to that degree, and suddenly they shoot you in the shoulder and the pain goes away and you go, ‘Oh, this is awesome. Yeah, I’m totally good, I don’t need surgery,’ not knowing what the repercussions (are) of constantly shooting yourself and playing that whole second year with basically a numb shoulder. I felt like I was playing at 50% capacity, letting not only myself down but letting my teammates down.

“I had a high bar that I wanted to live up to… I just wanted to make myself proud, my father proud, my teammates proud, the city proud, and I failed on all those measures and it still haunts me today. There’s nothing that we can do about the things that we’re passionate about, and if we’re born to do something and you put so much time and energy and effort, you know, blood, sweat and tears and it’s just all important for you and you come up short, you’re always going to feel like – I won’t say a failure because you got there, but less than your accomplishments, and you didn’t meet the bar that you set for yourself.”

Bosworth even admitted to being envious of players like Wyman, who had a nine-year career with the Seahawks and Broncos.

“Yeah, I mean, I envy those guys. I envy Dave because Dave had a great career there. He went on and played many, many years at Seattle, he went on to Denver and played many years in Denver. He had a long, sustained career, and I know it’s really hard to do that. Statistics tell you that you’re not going to be in the league for long. I think 3.2 years is your average career expectancy, and that’s exactly how long I played – 3.2 years. If I was smart and I listened to my body and said… ‘You know, we got to the playoffs (in 1987), we almost beat Houston, but I ain’t right and I need to get right if I’m gonna be here for 10 years. I want to be a producer for 10 years’ – and I just wasn’t a patient kid. I just felt the pressure of I guess being a gambler. And sometimes if you’re a gambler, you don’t win.”

The full conversation also touches on happier times and stories from Bosworth’s tenure with the Seahawks and in the game of the football. You can listen in the podcast below, as well as find other Seahawks Alumni Series conversations from Wyman and Bob in the links under that. Look for new Seahawks Alumni Series installments at 4 p.m. on Fridays on Seattle Sports.

More Seahawks Alumni Series conversations

RB Curt Warner
LB Lofa Tatupu
DL Joe Nash
DE Jacob Green

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