Bowers talks about potentially returning this season
As the Bucs brace with the potential long-term loss of DE Adrian Clayborn, there's some question whether the other end picked in his 2011 draft class, DE Da'Quan Bowers, could provide some help later this season.
Bowers, who ruptured his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout in May, has been rehabbing since his surgery while on the physically unable to perform list. The fact the Bucs had him on the PUP list instead of injured reserve is a sign of hope he could help them this season. And whether Bowers returns to practice when he's eligible in Week 6, is up to coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik, he says, an indication of how encouraging his progress is.
Bowers - after a brief conversation with a Bucs PR rep - talked with reporters during today's open lockerroom session. Bowers didn't give a lot of details on what he's been able to do in his rehab, or his specific timetable. But it's clear the long absence has been very tough on the former second-round pick out of Clemson.
"It's been a long process, since May, it gets overwhelming at times," Bowers said. "You've got to take it day by day. I know what my purpose is, I've got to work hard to get back where I was last year. It's a tough injury to come back from. The staff here has been doing everything in their power to make sure I have a healthy comeback.
"It's not difficult from a physical standpoint, more mental, being in the building watching my guys go and play on Sunday, watching two tough losses and me not being able to do anything to help them. That's what I mean by overwhelming. I try to be there for them emotionally, but my presence is missed. I can't be there on the sidelines and pick them up when things aren't going well. That's what's so tough about the situation for me."
Bowers said he's taking his rehab day-by-day, knowing there's still four weeks to go.
"It's up to coach Schiano and Mark Dominik at the end of the day," Bowers said. "We'll see what they decide, and if they think they can put me in. If they feel like they want to save me, I'm fine with that either way."
-- JOE SMITH