One revealing story about Josh Rosen that will blow you away

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen rolls out during UCLA's pro day for NFL draft prospects in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

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UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen rolls out during UCLA's pro day for NFL draft prospects in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Forget the whispers that have trailed Josh Rosen during this particularly annoying time on the NFL calendar when nobody seems to know anything even though everybody pretends to know everything.

Rosen might be the best pure quarterback in this draft, the smartest processor in the pocket and the most inquisitive and cerebral player in his position group, but rumblings of his lack of passion for the game and leadership have occupied too much space in our heads.

Rosen's intellect and background — Gasp! His family is rich! — have somehow become character flaws.

The NFL sometimes mirrors junior high with whisper-down-the-lane rumors that take on a life of their own. The notion that Rosen doesn't love football is so mind-numbingly stupid that I won't dignify that beyond this sentence.

Now, let's look at his leadership traits. Some foolishly mistaken his level-headed (stoic?) on-field demeanor for a lack of leadership, which is laughable on myriad levels. I suppose the Mannings weren't leaders. (INSERT EYE ROLL HERE.)

Rosen admittedly is "not really a big rah-rah guy," which reveals exactly nothing about his ability to lead. Perception, however, can become reality in the run-up to the draft.

"Teams are looking for different kinds of personalities and all different kinds of guys," Rosen said at the NFL scouting combine. "I'm not going to present a fake image of myself. You have to be yourself. You have to be authentic and you have to show that you've learned and grown over the years. I'm trying to show who I really am, not who I'm trying to be. I want them to draft me. I don't want them to draft someone they think they're getting and then not get that guy. I think that's also what your teammates want."

Wait. Isn't Rosen, who is flying to New Jersey to meet with the Giants and Jets this week, according to sources, supposed to be a self-consumed guy who couldn't give a rat's derriere about his teammates?

There are a million rumors that often cloud the truth.

So, here's a story about Rosen that blew me away.

St. John Bosco High School in California scheduled a game to be played in Hawaii during Rosen's senior year that would have cost each player $1,500. Although money wasn't a concern for Rosen, it was a real obstacle for some teammates who lived in different parts of Los Angeles County, including Compton.

So, Rosen devised an idea to work with local businesses, according to a terrific story by Bleacher Report two years ago.

The teenager's plan: Raise money for teammates from working-class families by selling discount cards to local businesses. Rosen spent the summer before his senior year in high school scheduling appointments with business owners to pitch his vision: Create a discount card program that would help the football team earn the necessary money for the trip. Rosen showed up for each meeting in a suit and tie, bent on helping his teammates.

He quietly updated his head coach, Jason Negro, until he had successfully sold enough discount cards in the county to raise money for every player on the team.

The best part: None of his teammates knew that he had created this creative fundraising plan and put in so much time to ensure everyone could go on the trip. He didn't advertise it. He just did it, because that's what leaders do.

"He's going into his senior season," Negro told Bleacher Report in 2016. "He could have been on the beach chasing girls. People see the tweets and pictures on social media, and they think he's just another spoiled kid from L.A. Couldn't be further from the truth."

It was selfless. It epitomized leadership.

It was reality.

Reality sometimes gets lost this time of year in the NFL.

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