Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa believe in Jim Harbaugh and the Chargers

They both cited a desire to win as the No. 1 reason to remain with the Chargers, a team that just lost 12 of 17 games.

That’s how strongly Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa said they believe in the direction of a franchise being guided by coach Jim Harbaugh.

Mack talked about the promise that could be found in the close losses the Chargers experienced last year, explaining that “watching the game from the sidelines can be different than playing in the game.”

Bosa, a careerlong Charger entering his ninth season, said he always wanted to stay with the team, adding that “winning football games is more important to me right now than making some extra money.”

Because of the Chargers’ salary cap issues, both veteran edge rushers reworked their contracts in March — accepting pay cuts in exchange for future assurances — to return for a third season together.

Only Mack and Bosa haven’t played together much because of injuries that have limited Bosa to 14 games over the last two years. Now, the duo is gearing up for one more shot.

Asked if he believes the Chargers can rebound from their 5-12 finish and win immediately under Harbaugh, Mack hesitated briefly before answering in the affirmative.

“Well, I don’t want to put that out there, but, yeah,” he said. “We better. That’s all I want to do. I want to win ballgames and have fun plane rides home. That’s it.”

Mack, 33 and entering his 11th season, is coming off one of his most productive years. He had a career-high 17 sacks and forced five fumbles, his second most in a season.

He laughed about fans on social media critiquing his 2023 performance by pointing out that six sacks came in one game, a Week 4 victory over Las Vegas.

“It was like, ‘Damn, is that a bad thing?’ ” Mack said, smiling. “Maybe I shouldn’t have got six in one game.”

Explaining how fortunate he feels to have played for a decade, Mack acknowledge he took a moment in the offseason to cherish reaching 100 career sacks, which happened in Week 17 at Denver.

That moment, however, passed quickly.

“You can celebrate certain things for a little bit,” Mack said. “But I feel like a Super Bowl would feel a lot better than that.”

He said he’s confident in the makeup of the Chargers, “starting with the quarterback,” Justin Herbert typically mentioned as the primary reason for whatever belief is attached to this team.

Mack said the hiring of Harbaugh also factored into his decision, the coach not only coming off a collegiate national championship but also with a history of NFL success with San Francisco from 2011 to 2014.

“I feel like he’s a deep thinker,” said Mack, who talked about Harbaugh’s oft-mentioned attention to detail when asked about the Chargers practicing during their offseason program in game jerseys and pants, something not common in the NFL.

“I feel like he shifted the mind-set by putting us in those same situations we’re going to be in in games,” Mack said. “Just knowing that he thinks that way, you definitely understand where he’s trying to take this team.”

Similarly, Bosa said Harbaugh’s presence was a positive as he contemplated his future. The two have a brief history together, Bosa in his final season at Ohio State when Harbaugh took over at Michigan.

Bosa called Harbaugh “maybe the final piece to figure this stuff out” and said he’s convinced the Chargers “are trending in the right direction” as they prepare for their final day of minicamp Thursday in Costa Mesa.

“I feel like Coach is leading the team the way it should be led,” Bosa said. “The message is sent from the top and it doesn’t get mixed up as it’s moving down the ladder. It’s ‘Boom. This is how we’re doing things,’ and everybody’s following that.”

Bosa also said he’s healthy after a season in which he suffered foot, toe, hamstring and hand injuries. He said he had surgery on one finger but avoided any procedures on the foot he sprained in two places.

As for Harbaugh’s tighter-ship influence, Bosa said he has seen it in things like how the Chargers tuck in their jerseys during practices and keep their lockers tidy.

“All those tiny details and things add up and leak into the important stuff,” Bosa said, “like what you’re doing on the field.”

After Thursday, the Chargers will break for the start of summer before reconvening toward the end of July for training camp at their new facility in El Segundo. At that point, the discovery process will resume as the players continue learning about their new coach.

“He’s an interesting cat for sure,” Bosa said. “I’m still feeling him out. But one thing you can’t deny is that he loves football and his main goal is to win football games, and that’s what we need.”

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