Nick Bosa

Why 49ers' Bosa no longer holds grudge against Bucs QB Mayfield

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SANTA CLARA -- It takes a lot to rile up 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, but Baker Mayfield appeared to get under his skin when they were college rivals.

Six years later, Bosa said he never really had a beef with Mayfield.

Their paths crossed in Feburary during Super Bowl week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA Tour event.

“He’s nice,” Bosa said Wednesday. “I mean, we said, ‘Hi.’ I’ve never had anything against him. [It was] just a joke as a rookie.

“It was fun. My celebrations as a rookie were pretty good.”

Bosa generated a lot of attention in 2019 when he celebrated a sack and a 49ers win at Mayfield’s expense.

Mayfield now is the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his fourth team in six NFL seasons. The Bucs travel to face the 49ers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Now, Bosa’s celebrations consist of his low-key shoulder shrug — something he will look to perform Sunday.

“I hope so,” Bosa said, “a few times.”

To refresh, the alleged Bosa-Mayfield grudge dates to early in the 2017 college football season. That is when Mayfield staked an Oklahoma flag in the middle of Ohio Stadium’s field after the No. 5-ranked Sooners went into Columbus and planted a 31-16 upset victory on Bosa and the No. 2 Buckeyes.

Mayfield threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the marquee win, and he went on to claim the Heisman Trophy and become the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Cleveland Browns.

Bosa had to wait two years, but he exacted some measure of revenge in Week 5 of his rookie season with the 49ers.

Bosa registered two sacks, five quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the 49ers’ 31-3 victory over Mayfield and the Browns on “Monday Night Football” at Levi’s Stadium. After one of his sacks, Bosa pretended to swing a flag and stick it into the ground — mimicking the gesture Mayfield made at Ohio State.

"I don't usually talk, but this game, he had it coming," Bosa said after the 2019 game. "He didn't say one word back.

“I was just screaming his name, like 'Ba-ker! Ba-ker! You good? Come on, pick it up, we want a challenge.' Stuff like that. He was just looking at me."

Mayfield also started against the 49ers in Week 5 of last season. He was sacked four times and threw an interception in the Carolina Panthers’ 37-15 loss to the 49ers. It was one of three games all season in which Bosa did not record a sack during his NFL Defensive Player of the Year season.

The Bucs are in the thick of the NFC South race with a 4-5 record — a half-game behind the division-leading New Orleans Saints. Mayfield is having a solid season after signing a one-year, $4 million contract with Tampa Bay, completing 64.6 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 93.7 rating.

Bosa was quick to give Mayfield praise Wednesday.

“He’s definitely scrappy,” Bosa said. “He’s tougher than he looks in the pocket with his escapability and his athleticism.

“And then he’s good at whenever guys are open in the scheme, he hits them.”

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