Over the past couple of weeks, the San Francisco 49ers management and coaching staff have been discussing All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s status with the team. The Niners drafted rookie Reuben Foster to eventually take over for Bowman as the quarterback of the defense. The original idea was to have Bowman and Foster play side by side and allow the rookie to learn from the 4-time All-Pro. But after those discussions in the front office became more public, it turns out the 49ers had other ideas and said goodbye to their stud linebacker after playing over 7 years for the organization.
The main reason why Bowman made an early departure was due to the fact that the organization decided to reduce his playing time and allow Foster to get more reps at middle linebacker. Which to me doesn’t make sense because the 49ers tend to use four linebackers during the game anyway? But if they are to make a full transition to the base 4-3 defense then there can only be one middle linebacker. San Francisco drafted Foster to be an inside linebacker and not an outside pass rusher.
NaVorro Bowman was obviously upset about hearing his playing time would be reduced considering he’s used to playing every down in every game. So he and the staff spoke and agreed to part ways. However, the 49ers attempted to trade Bowman to a team he’d like if the price was right but unfortunately that didn’t happen. So San Francisco allowed good old #53 to walk and go to a team of his choice where he’ll be on the field 99% of the time.
Speaking for us Niner fans, it’s upsetting to see Bowman go. He played his heart out from day one! The 49ers recognized his greatness early on when he was blowing up plays at Penn State and were lucky enough to get him in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL draft. Since then he’s made countless plays to impact the outcome of many games including breaking up a potential losing touchdown pass against the Falcons in the NFC Championship game in the 2012 season. The Niners won and went on to the Super Bowl. Thanks to his intelligence, game film study and athletic ability, NaVorro Bowman was able to make that play and hundreds of others just like it.
Bowman’s seven years in the NFL have been magnificent….when he plays that is! He does have a tendency to get hurt including the 2014 season and most of last year as well. But when he’s on the field watch out. The man is all over the place having learned a great deal from his former partner in crime Patrick Willis at LB where that duo anchored the 49ers defense and was one of the best units in the league. Bowman is a four-time All-Pro. Four times in seven years and he was injured for two of them. Pretty awesome huh!
Bowman can go to any team that wants him and you can bet he’ll join a contender and make a significant impact. He’s not going to a team that won’t let him play every down and while that sounds selfish, every coach wants to hear that. Bowman is only 29 years young and has plenty of gas left in the tank. Don’t be shocked if he ends up back in the NFC West where his rivals know him, hated to play against him and want the man on their team. The Seahawks would love to grab Bowman despite the rivalry.
It’s sad to see him go but I wish him the best of luck. Hoping he stays healthy, NaVorro Bowman still has 4 or 5 great years left so he’ll get signed quick and paid later.