Armed with his own high-profile experiences, former Oklahoma football great Brian Bosworth is in the midst of a project he hopes will help guide young players not so familiar with the spotlight.
“I’m trying to create an atmosphere where kids understand that a four-year stage in their life is an opportunity to turn that into a 40-year career,” Bosworth said Thursday from Malibu, Calif. “You’re not going to be a 40-year professional athlete. You might be a four-year professional athlete. You might be a four-game professional athlete. You might be a four-day guy. You might come in and get cut, but you’ve got to take advantage of that four-year opportunity to get an education.”
Bosworth said he is writing and producing the independent project and chose the production company of Sir Ridley Scott.
“I went with that company because I felt like they get it from a sports standpoint. The project has changed organically from my original plan to where it’s going to end up. I was going to compare Blue Chip athletes to kids who don’t get that kind of notoriety, kids more along the lines of ‘The Blind Side,’ kids who come out of nowhere. This guy who became an all-pro, where did he come from? On the other side, you have this blue-chip athlete, yet his flame isn’t blue. His flame is a flickering orange that’s almost out. Why doesn’t he have the motivation when he’s been given all of God’s gifts and everybody’s pulling for him?
“What I’m finding out more and more is today’s kids are so cocky when they come out of high school. You can’t teach them. You can’t coach them. They act like they already know it all. It takes me back to my time. I think I was kind of one of those guys, but I was also very humble and I was very scared. I had a big self-esteem problem. I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can make it here, man. This is Oklahoma. This is big-time. I don’t know if I am big-time yet. I’ve got to figure that out.’ I had to go through an inner journey to find out if I had big-time in me.
“There’s always a crossroad. You come to a fork in the road. I think what we’re going to end up doing is we’re going to take kids back to that fork in the road. There was a circumstance in your life that caused you to take a right or a left. We’ll look at the kids who took the wrong turns. Sometimes it’s because of a wrong choice they made. Sometimes they didn’t have a choice, the decision was made for them. There are a lot kids out there who don’t get that second chance. The more we talk to high school coaches, they agree. They say, ‘Don’t come in and get our seniors. They don’t need any more notoriety. Go to the guys who didn’t get the shot to go, who are great kids and are now sackers at the grocery store, or pumping gas, or don’t have a job, or have a life of crime.’ We can go impact those type of kids and change their lives.
“I’ve put more focus on teaching and mentoring kids about how to avoid the mistakes, especially the mistakes I made. I made many. I had a lot of great successes, but I made a lot of mistakes. When you add them all up, I think the teeter-totter is favored more toward my successes.”
Bosworth’s maniacal approach to football cut short what had been a brilliant career. “You put a hat (helmet) on and when you walk onto a field and you’re playing for a fraternity,” Bosworth said. “We hit each other, not because we’re told to but because we want to. Sometimes there are catastrophes that happen in our bodies. I’ve had 28 surgeries. I’ve had both my shoulders replaced. I’ve got three discs in my neck and four discs in my back. That’s because I played the game at a level that I wanted to play at. I wanted to play at a high, destructive level. I felt like if I didn’t hit somebody with everything I had inside of me, I wasn’t playing the game hard enough. I did that for me. It helped my team, but I did that for me.”