With San Diego Chargers training camp underway, there’s still no sign of Joey Bosa. The third overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft remains in a contract dispute with San Diego.
Teammate Antonio Gates has been there before and had some frank words for Bosa, and anyone else in a contract dispute.
“My advice to any player that’s going through any kind of contract situation is that, at one point, you’ve got to be a man and you’ve got to understand that you’ve got to get ready to play,” Gates said, per Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union Tribune.
The tight end also remembered his own contract issues in 2005. “Eventually, I ended up saying, ‘I need to get ready.’ To me, it meant a lot for me to go out and perform,” Gates concluded.
Gates has a point. It’s usually ill-advised for a player to comment on someone else’s contract situation, but he’s only doing that to an extent.
The overarching message is one that any holdout needs to hear. If you hold out and miss training camp time, you’re going to be behind when you eventually do arrive. When that time comes, nobody is going to have any sympathy for you because of the contract situation.
Your opponents will come at you just as hard as they otherwise would have. Conversely, your teammates, coaches, and fans will still expect you to play at a high level.
When you’re the third overall pick — as Bosa is — the expectations will be even higher.
None of that is to say that Bosa should end his holdout and get to camp as soon as possible. Just that when he does, he’d better be ready to play. Given Bosa’s situation, he may need a reminder of that. A veteran like Gates is a great person to give that reminder.