After losing both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland this winter, the San Francisco 49ers desperately need inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman at full strength for the upcoming season. To this point in the team’s offseason workouts, 49ers coaches couldn’t be more thrilled with what they are seeing.
Remember, Bowman suffered a gruesome knee injury during the 2013 NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks. He spent the entire 2014 season rehabbing the knee, as the 49ers brass deemed it wise to let him fully heal, rather than rush him back last year.
According to new head coach Jim Tomsula, Bowman is “looking great” this spring, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area:
“Bowman’s looking great,” Tomsula said on Friday. “Bow looks great. I’d say we’re more treating Bow like a vet than we’re treating Bow like a post-injury guy right now.”
Tomsula is also thrilled with the depth he has at the inside linebacker position, which many experts have deemed an area of weakness since the departure of the aforementioned Willis and Borland. When asked if the team would pursue free agent Lance Briggs, he responded:
“Right now, where we’re at, things are really good out there. I’m talking about the guys who are on the field for us. Talking about Michael Wilhoite and NaVorro Bowman, but a guy that’s really moving around and feeling the defense in the right way is Nick Moody. I’ve been pulling for Nick. He’s working really hard.”
Clearly, the 49ers are expecting Bowman to be fully ready for a return to his starting role once training camp and the exhibition season begins.
This is a huge boost to a team that has been sucker-punched more than a few times this offseason. With his speed, experience and dynamic playmaking abilities anchoring the linebacking corps, San Francisco’s defense will once again be among the league’s best in 2015.
ACL injuries used to be career-threatening. Not so much any more. With the advances in medical science making their way into NFL locker rooms, and with so many leading surgeons doing the cutting, NFL players are routinely coming back without problems—some better than ever.
Should Bowman follow suit and return to the form that made him a three-time First-Team All-Pro, then he’ll not only help the 49ers win more games than people expect but also will be in the mix to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
Photo: USA Today Sports