Things could get a little messy Sunday when the Chargers meet Dallas in their 2021 home opener at SoFi Stadium.
But messy is nothing new to Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott.
The former roommates at Ohio State are set to face one another as NFL players for the first time.
Elliott, the Cowboys’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, told reporters in Texas on Wednesday that he and Bosa were not exactly tidy during their college days. Bosa confirmed that assessment Thursday.
“We were both terrible,” he said. “There was not a winner on that. … Luckily, that’s changed over the years. No more pizza boxes and everything lying around.”
Bosa and Elliott were teammates with the Buckeyes from 2013-15. The Chargers drafted Bosa at No. 3 overall in 2016; the Cowboys took Elliott with the next pick.
When these teams met most recently, on Thanksgiving Day in 2017, Elliott was unavailable because of a suspension.
So Bosa and Elliott haven’t played against each other since Ohio State’s final practices leading up to the Fiesta Bowl following the 2015 season.
“He’s part of that Dallas franchise, is really the face of it along with a few of his teammates,” Bosa said. “I’m really proud of him. We’ve come a long way from being in the dorm rooms back in 2013. So it’ll be cool to be out there.”
Bosa is coming off a four-tackle, one-sack performance in the Chargers’ season-opening 20-16 victory over Washington.
In the Chargers’ new scheme, he has technically shifted from defensive end to edge rusher or outside linebacker.
Bosa said the opener didn’t feel terribly different to him. He said there was one play on which he had pass-coverage responsibilities — something that’s new for him this season — but Washington ran the ball.
Bosa was flagged for two roughing-the-passer penalties, the latter of which came when he hit Taylor Heinicke a little lower than the officials deemed to be legal.
He called the situation — one that has frustrated defensive players throughout the NFL in recent seasons — “ridiculous” and said he expects to hear from the league office regarding a possible fine.
“I’m sure I’ll be contacted at some point, and I’d like to discuss that with the refs,” Bosa said. “I’ve been called for a similar thing a couple of times and I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m just playing hard and trying to make a play.
“I thought personally that I did a really good job staying off of him and bringing him down very gently. But it’s not up to me, obviously. So I’ve got to make the changes. … I don’t think I did anything malicious.”
The Chargers’ offense sealed the victory over Washington by running out the final 6:43. Quarterback Justin Herbert converted four third downs on the possession and ended the game with three consecutive kneel downs.
Bosa said he and his fellow defenders appreciated not having to return to the field for one last stop.
“I don’t really remember being a part of something like that for a few years now,” he said. “Just to see them with however much time on the clock and be able to pick apart that defense and move down on the field and run out the clock was really impressive.”