SAN DIEGO -- A day after the San Diego Chargers engaged in a scorched earth onslaught in response to their continuing contract impasse with first-round draft pick Joey Bosa, coach Mike McCoy softened the message in the team's first public comment on the issue.
"I'm sure he's going crazy back home not being with his teammates," said McCoy after practice Thursday, when asked what his message was to players in regard to the possible distraction of Bosa's contract stalemate. "We all want him here. Once he walks through the door, he's one of us. That's the way we're going to approach it.
"We're going to win with whoever we have. From the preseason all the way through the year, there's going to be things that come up -- injuries and things like this. And we're not going to skip a beat. But we all want him here. He knows that. He's a very talented player, and we saw that from the first day that he was here."
One of the key issues during the monthlong ordeal is that Bosa has had limited contact with anyone from the organization due to the ongoing contract negotiations. Players close to San Diego's top rookie, such as linebacker and former Ohio State teammate Joshua Perry, have said they have texted with Bosa. For the most part, Bosa has been left out of regular communication with the organization.
"I want him to be here and be one of the guys," McCoy said. "So I'm doing whatever I can. We're focused on really working on the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, with the players that are here putting the plan together."
Veteran tight end Antonio Gates had strong words for Bosa a few weeks ago, basically stating the time was now for the rookie to stand up and be a man with regard to taking control of his contract situation.
Gates also went through his own contract holdout in the early part of his career, so he can empathize with the difficult choices Bosa has made.
"You don't know the situation, so it's hard to make judgments," Gates said. "As a teammate, we always support our teammates. And I think that's a cardinal rule in this locker room -- we fully support whatever our guys are involved in.
"He's a part of us, as far as I'm concerned. So we support whatever it is he chooses to do. At the same time, we want the thing to get resolved so he can help us win football games at the end of the day."