While some NFL media and insiders have done what they could to tear down Josh Rosen in recent days, Rosen has seemingly stayed above the fray.
As former NFL receiver Steve Smith went on an over-the-top rant about Rosen for unfollowing the Cardinals’ all Kyler, all the time Instagram feed and fellow NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly kept up his constant criticism of Rosen, the 22-year-old was largely quiet.
We heard from him in a great video in which he thanked Arizona Cardinals fans, wished his replacement, Kyler Murray, the best (and jokingly said he knows a great two-bedroom condo — his — going on the market), and said he’s excited to join the Miami Dolphins.
Rosen also delayed his flight from Arizona to South Florida to honor the commitment he made to Larry Fitzgerald to take part in Fitzgerald’s charity softball game, where he won the home run derby.
The Dolphins held an introductory news conference for Rosen on Monday afternoon, but before that he talked to Robert Klemko of The MMQB, and comes across a lot more likable than some want you to believe.
‘My heart really didn’t believe it was going to happen’
Arizona drafted Rosen just last year, with the No. 10 pick. Four games into his tenure as starter, and after seven games, the Cardinals fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and promoted Byron Leftwich, who had just one season as a quarterbacks coach before getting the job.
Almost immediately after Arizona fired head coach Steve Wilks and hired Kliff Kingsbury, the rumors began that the team would draft Heisman winner Murray, whom Kingsbury had recruited to Texas A&M and whom he’d repeatedly praised.
Rosen, however, wanted to believe it was standard pre-draft rumor mill stuff until his agent, Ryan Williams, called him just moments before the first round of the draft began on Thursday night to say the Cardinals were trying to trade him, and Kingsbury called with an it’s-not-you-it’s-me message.
“My heart really didn’t believe it was going to happen until a couple minutes before it happened,” Rosen told Klemko. “Common sense sort of kicked in then, but my heart didn’t want to believe it.”
‘That’s really bold for someone who just took a QB’
Williams affirmed that Arizona and general manager Steve Keim bungled the situation — he received a text from Keim after the Cardinals had drafted Murray and the San Francisco 49ers claimed Nick Bosa at No. 2 giving him permission reach out to teams about trading for Rosen.
Williams was understandably angry. The entire NFL world believed the Cardinals were going to draft Murray, so why did Keim wait so long to start negotiations on a trade? Once Arizona affirmed it and drafted Murray, the return in a Rosen trade dropped.
Klemko writes that one team executive, with Washington, was on the phone with Keim, who was requesting a first-round pick. The executive laughed.
“That’s really bold for someone who just took a QB,” he told Keim.
If a trade wasn’t possible, the Cardinals would keep Rosen, citing a stat that over the past three years an average of 15 quarterbacks played all 16 games in a season.
When Williams called Rosen to tell him that the Cardinals might keep him, he didn’t reply like he was resigned to giving up the starting job.
“If that’s their position, then I’ll just beat him out and Kyler can be the backup,” Rosen said.
But Williams told Rosen the truth: that’s not really what Arizona wanted.
And Rosen knew the truth too.
“I absolutely would have competed if they kept me, but I would’ve been kind of bummed about it because I knew I wouldn’t get a fair shake,” Rosen said. “A GM’s not going to draft a quarterback and draft another one the next year, higher, and then play the first one. It’s admitting you made two mistakes. It just wouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t hesitate to compete, but I would know preemptively I wouldn’t get a shot even if I won the competition.”
‘I think it’s time I had some legitimate adversity handed to me’
One of the biggest issues many NFL types seem to have with Rosen is that football is not the end-all, be-all for him. He loves the sport, but the money won’t drastically change his and his family’s life like it does for many, and he’s able to keep things in perspective.
On the phone with Williams Thursday night, once it became clear he wouldn’t be traded until Friday if at all, Rosen took it in stride.
“I’m fine,” he told his agent. “It’s not like I’m some child soldier in Darfur. I’ve had it pretty good. I think it’s time I had some legitimate adversity handed to me.”
Rosen told Klemko, “I try to put everything into perspective. If I’m bummed I’m getting traded by the Arizona Cardinals, I try to think I’m living in an awesome condo in the middle of Scottsdale. I’m on a team, I have food on my table, a good family. Life could be a lot worse, so you count your blessings and try to put good energy out into the world.”
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