DENVER, SEPT. 14 -- Kathy Bosworth, mother of "The Boz", stood just outside the locker room where her son the linebacker was getting dressed. She had just seen him ushered off the Mile High Stadium field by four beefy policemen whose primary job Sunday afternoon was to keep angry Denver fans from trampling him when the game ended.

Mrs. Bosworth knew this wasn't the first time her son's mouth had gotten him in trouble and assumed it wouldn't be the last. After she surveyed the scene, she said of her son, Brian, one of three children: "If he'd been the first, he'd been the only."

If Bosworth's mother hasn't quite gotten used to "The Boz" yet, it's safe to assume the National Football League doesn't quite know what to make of him one game into his rookie season.

Bosworth, the former Oklahoma all-America, has brought his physical talents and his mouth to the Seattle Seahawks, not necessarily in that order. In his regular season debut against the Broncos, Bosworth made eight tackles, caused one fumble and played well enough to draw praise from several of Denver's offensive players.

But it wasn't what Bosworth did on the field that got everybody all riled up; it was (again) what he said.

Leading up to the game, Bosworth said, in effect, he'd like to get his claws into Elway's "boyish face" and that he wanted to hurt Denver's fair-haired quarterback.

"The guy can really play," Denver's veteran center, Billy Bryan, said of Bosworth. "He hits hard, but clean. I can't remember seeing a rookie linebacker play any better. He's strong at the point of attack {against the run} . . . That play where he ran down John {Elway} was pretty amazing. There aren't too many people who can catch John when he's running like that. It's like catching a car in the fast lane, but Bosworth did it. The thing is, he's good enough to just play and not talk. He doesn't need all that talk."

Last Sunday, the talk started early. Bosworth blasted Elway "right in my ear hole," the Denver quarterback said. "He put a couple of good shots on me, but nothing you couldn't get in a lot of NFL games . . . He did scream a lot, but he didn't really say anything. It was more like, 'Aaaahhhhhhh!' "

Before the game, Seattle Coach Chuck Knox in effect apologized for some of Bosworth's comments, even though Elway said he didn't mind.

But there are people who do mind. Even his mother. "The things he said about Elway were not the kind of things you do in the pros," she said. "I don't know how much longer he'll be doing that kind of thing. The coach may settle him down . . . I've learned why he says some of the things he says, but I still cringe because I think, 'Oh, Lord, they're going to get him' . . ."

Some of the Broncos confirmed that. "I think his talk might cause him a few problems if he continues," Denver tackle Dave Studdard said. "That kind of stuff gets you noticed and makes people come looking for you."

Bosworth may be giving in a little to the notion that he has to tone down his act a bit. "Football's entertainment," he said. "My mouth does get me in trouble sometimes . . . {But} if I get a chance to take a shot at an opponent like John Elway, I'm gonna do it; that's my job. This is a physical game, an attacking game. Y'all {reporters} made it seem like I was gonna try to kill the guy."

Bosworth went on to praise Elway for his four-touchdown passing performance that led the Broncos to a 40-17 victory over Seattle.

When asked what he would remember most about his debut, Bosworth said, "That we lost. I never had 40 points scored on me before. I'm used to being on the opposite side of scores like this."

"I made a lot of mistakes," he said. "I've got to concentrate more. It was a disadvantage, though, to play Denver in my first game because they put you in a position where you have to think a whole lot."

There was one play in the first half in which Bryan -- just as an Elway pass was falling incomplete -- stuck his helmet into Bosworth's chest and knocked him flatter than a poster. The fans went wild, "and Boz jumped up screaming bloody murder," Bryan said, laughing. "Did I know it was him? Of course. I watch TV, too. You can't help but notice {even though Bosworth was ordered by the league to abandon his traditional uniform No. 44}.

"But it's not like he should leave humiliated or anything because he did some good things out there. Sooner or later, you get knocked on your butt in this league. It happens to everybody."