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Bowman: ‘I won’t be on the sidelines’

Recovering from his second major injury has come with uncertainty looming over NaVorro Bowman. But recently, questions regarding “Bo” have piled up faster than a football players on a fumbled ball.

For starters, an arm wrestling competition held in Las Vegas raised eyebrows around the league and posed potential disciplinary action for all in attendance, including Bowman.

A few of months later, trade rumors surfaced as Michael Lombardi of “The Ringer” reported that the San Francisco 49ers were willing to consider a deal for their four-time-all-pro linebacker.

And finally, following the second day of OTAs in Santa Clara, first year head coach, Kyle Shanahan, hinted that Bowman may not be the guaranteed a starting spot at middle linebacker considering the depth at that position:

“In my opinion, there’s going to be a very good player who is not out there all the time.”

But Bowman had answers to most of these inquiries Tuesday, as he seems to have snagged his status out of the air, similar to one of the four passes he has intercepted in his career.

He started off with his injury status and his progress in recovering from the achilles injury suffered in November of 2016:

“I’m feeling great. … I’ve done everything that I’ve needed to do to get back to where I am today. I’m ahead of schedule. I don’t feel anything in my achilles or my knee.”

Bowman then shifted gears to address the trade rumors that have risen in the past few weeks:

“I talked to (general manager) John (Lynch). He mentioned that, you know, it was a rumor, things were misinterpreted and also hurt about the guy who reported it who wanted some type of attention off of reporting that.”

Regarding the possibility of not starting at middle linebacker, Bowman tackled the issue head on by saying:

“I won’t be on the sideline. I’m going to tell you that now.”

While that seems to come as lofty statement, Bowman’s performance at the second day of OTA’s seem to back it up.

“No. 53,” as dubbed by 49ers center Daniel Kilgore, took all of his reps in the team’s starting defensive unit alongside former Seattle Seahawk and Oakland Raider, Malcolm Smith.

Bowman’s speed and lateral movement looked good as well as his mobility silenced any doubt regarding his recovery from the torn achilles tendon that required surgery last November.

On top of that, Bowman’s leaping ability looked strong as he was able to snag a pair of interceptions out of the air during position drills.

Defensive end Aaron Lynch said of Bowman’s appearance at practice:

“NaVorro is NaVorro,”

He added:

“He’s a monster. He’s a beast.”

As it is wise to take Bowman’s own comments at face value, if his teammates are also noticing the promising return of their field general, maybe his words hold some water.

The last time Bowman played a full season in the NFL (2015), he led the league in tackles (154) and shined as the only bright spot on a 5-11 team.

If Bowman can return to the same caliber of production demonstrated before suffering the original season ending knee injury during the NFC championship game in 2014, there will be no more question surrounding him when all is said and done.

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