I remember writing up a recap of the 49ers drafting Penn State linebacker NaVorro Bowman. I was at my friend’s house and I had brought my laptop with me. At the time I was still getting my footing as a beat writer. But I felt that Bowman was a smart pick. Even though he was not a first round selection, he had a strong pedigree and had potential for growth.
Since then, Bowman was a four-time First All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection and at times, was the best defender on the team. And that’s with Patrick Willis next to him.
Bowman was a great professional to work with and he always gave me respect. He was a beast of a linebacker and it’s a shame injuries prevented him from reaching his best potential.
Regardless, he was beloved by many fans and they will always cherish his pick-six at The Stick. That’s an image that will last a lifetime.
What Bowman also represents is an era of old. He was there before Jim Harbaugh showed up and was a vital part of the team’s three-year run of playoff appearances. Along with Joe Staley, these two were part of a team struggling to find their identity before the playoff glory happened. Now as a new regime is making their mark, changes were inevitable. Bowman no longer was the player he was once and he doesn’t fit into the new plan. The move isn’t surprising, but it’s still hard to accept.
It’s time for the 49ers to move on and for Bowman to find a new team. As the 49ers continue to distance themselves from the good ol’ days with Harbaugh and try to establish their own new identity, saying farewell to the past is part of it. This was a business move and it’s time for both sides to go on with their business.
I am grateful for all Bowman did for the 49ers. I wish him well.