SEATTLE -- Just as you might expect, his tumultuous rookie season has been a strange trip for the man they call The Boz. Oh, Brian Bosworth looks the same. His haircut is the same, his earrings are still in place. But the bravado isn't there, at least not in an interview Friday afternoon when his frustration spilled out publicly for the first time this year.

"The three months that I've been here, they've been the most uncomfortable three months of my whole entire life," Bosworth said.

"So far, I've probably had zero amount of fun playing the game that I'm supposed to have the most fun in my life playing. I have asked myself why and I've asked dear and close friends why. And there's really no answer . . . I don't know the answer . . . After contemplating the question over several weeks, I know it's not my fault.

"This is the one thing I love to do more than anything in the world, and the people around me are making me hate it."

One might expect Bosworth to be as happy as any 22-year-old man could possibly be, what with his 10-year, $11 million contract and a job as a starting linebacker on the Seattle Seahawks, a team contending for the National Football League's AFC title. But The Boz is living proof that money can't buy happiness.

This is not what we have come to expect from the outrageous Boz after three seasons of fun and frolic at the University of Oklahoma, and it is not what Bosworth expects of himself.

But life has not been easy this season, since Bosworth came to a mostly orderly, conservative, do-it-by-the-book city he wanted no part of in the first place. First, he missed training camp while his agent negotiated the biggest rookie contract in NFL history. Then, he had to learn a new position in one of the league's most complex defenses.

To complicate his difficulties, Bosworth has not made anyone forget Dick Butkus. The Boz says that much, and even if he didn't, his coaches would.

"So far, my first year has been somewhat of a disappointment because of the expectations, and having to live up to them," he said. The 24-day NFL players' strike, which Bosworth says he "never agreed with, never supported," was out of his control, but it stopped whatever progress he was making.

Tom Catlin, Seattle's defensive coordinator and linebacker coach, called the strike "a gigantic step backward" for Bosworth. "Now, he's where he should be about the second week into the season, but we're three weeks from the end. Four weeks late and four weeks sitting out," Catlin said.

"He does some things pretty well, he's slow reacting on other things. I'd hoped for something better, and I think he'd hoped for something better by this point."

Seahawks President/General Manager Mike McCormack is a big Boz fan and points out that Bosworth is Seattle's second-leading tackler. Still, "I think he thought he was going to come in and pick right up where he was at Oklahoma . . . ," McCormack said.

Much of this could be more easily tolerated if Bosworth's personality was somewhat more demure. But, of course, that isn't the case. Many people inside and outside the NFL told Bosworth long before Seattle chose him in the supplemental draft that he couldn't get away with saying and doing what had made him an anti-establishment hero in college.

But there was Bosworth, two weeks after signing his contract, making a "Land of Boz" poster with a Playboy playmate. Two weeks later, before the season opener, there was The Boz saying, "I can't wait to get my hands on John Elway's boyish face," and adding he'd rather get a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty than lighten up on Elway if he ran out of bounds.

There was The Boz going to court to make the NFL let him wear his prized No. 44, saying he'd spend a million dollars to get No. 44 back. He claimed, "Everything I have is predicated on that number" and said that he'd "get the trial moved to Barbados or someplace" to inconvenience NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

NFL coaches believe nothing goes unnoticed, especially the verbal shots Bosworth has directed toward Elway and the Raiders' tight end Todd Christensen. His Own Worst Enemy

"Everybody in the league's out to take a shot at him, but he's brought that upon himself," Catlin said. "There are quite a few people going after him; some {are} legitimate and some are not.

"I don't have any use for it, and I know {head coach} Chuck {Knox} doesn't. Chuck talks to him quite frequently; it was about once a week at one point."

With Elway and the Broncos coming to town for a Sunday night game that will go a long way toward Seattle climbing into the thick of the AFC playoff race or getting thrown out, the Seattle coaches wanted Bosworth to be silent this week.

Bosworth thinks the coaches are far too serious. "I was brought up under a completely different philosophy," he said. "I was taught that you go out and under no circumstances should you not have fun. Let yourself go and let your feelings go, and if you want to dog somebody {verbally}, then dog somebody . . .

"This {conservatism} is something I've yet to get used to. Maybe one of these days I'll get used to it. Hopefully I will, but it's just going to take time, I guess."

So, apparently, will the relationship between Bosworth and his teammates. "For whatever reason, maybe because we're still feeling each other out or whatever, I'm not very close with most of the guys on the team. I'm close with a handful of guys . . . ," he said.

But his problems with his teammates wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have problems on the field, too. He agrees that the strike was detrimental to his performance, and said having to play out of position is not helping him, either.

"I was drafted to play one position -- inside on the strong side -- and they threw me on the other side, which is totally foreign to me," he said. "The sophistication of this defense, from what I understand from players around the league, is one of the most complicated in the game. My responsibilities are endless, which has also put more pressure on me."

When Bosworth left Oklahoma, with one year of eligibility remaining, he initially listed the few clubs he would play for, most of them located in California or New York, places where Bosworth's eccentricities would be no big deal. At first, he said said he would never sign with Seattle.

"I signed because I was really forced to sign," Bosworth said. "If I had sat out, it would really hurt me. You've got to prepare yourself for life, financially. I had no alternative. I played hardball for as long as I could."

The day in August Bosworth signed a contact to spend the next 10 years of his life in Seattle, he couldn't have known how much frustration would fill his first six months.

He said he will try as hard as he can to do whatever Knox and Catlin ask of him, to adjust to the conservative ways of this franchise and this part of the country. He knows it could continue to be difficult.

"Obviously, there are some things I have to adapt to, and someday I will," he said. "But right now, I'm about to the point where I'm just going to tell everyone where they can go and what they can do."