Could 49ers' Nick Bosa make push for Comeback Player of Year?

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Could Bosa make late push for Comeback Player of the Year? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Offensive players get most of the attention when it comes to the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, but 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa is making a midseason push

The star pass rusher has quietly been having a very productive season coming off an ACL injury that kept him sidelined nearly the entire 2020 season. Through nine games, Bosa has silenced any doubts about being able to return to his pre-injury form. In fact, he’s actually better. 

In his Defensive Rookie of the Year season in 2019, Bosa racked up nine regular season sacks and an additional four in the postseason. The edge defender also registered an interception, a forced fumble, 62 tackles - 43 solo, 19 for a loss and 30 quarterback hits in the regular and postseason combined. 

Through nine games this season, Bosa already has amassed nine sacks, which ranks him eighth-most in the league. The third-year pass rusher has made 31 tackles - 24 solo and 19 quarterback hits. Bosa’s 13 tackles for a loss lead the league. His 16 regular season tackles for a loss in 2019 ranked him 5th. 

The last time a 49ers player received Comeback Player of the Year honors was Garrison Hearst in 2001. The Pro Bowl running back missed both the 1999 and 2000 seasons after complications from surgery of his broken fibula caused avascular necrosis - a lack of circulation to his foot and ankle, which caused the bone to degenerate. 

Hearst came back with a vengeance in 2001, carrying the ball 252 times for 1206 yards and four touchdowns. The ball carrier also caught 41 of his 55 targets for 347 yards and a receiving touchdown. 

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The last 49ers defender to win CPOY was Bryant Young in 1999. After a gruesome leg injury at the end of the 1998 season, the 49ers defensive lineman came back and put together an 11-sack campaign that also included 41 tackles, 36 solo and 19 for a loss. 

Bosa has stiff competition for CPOY this season, with the odds currently favoring Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz and Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner all ahead of Bosa.

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, who suffered a season-ending meniscus injury prior to the 2020 season, joins Bosa as one of the only defensive players who might have a chance for the yearly honor.  

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