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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' Da'Quan Bowers relieved after making debut



The past eight months has been a series of tumultuous events for Bucs rookie defensive end Da’Quan Bowers.

It started with a January knee surgery that he believed was minor – until NFL doctors started working him over prior to the draft and stated otherwise. Then came the barrage of speculation about his ability to play in the NFL both in the short and long term because of potential future knee problems, his precipitous fall in the draft from top 10 pick to 52nd overall, and the long wait to finally prove everyone wrong.

Through it all, the deeply religious Bowers had faith and focus. Friday, his patience paid off. The second-round pick from Clemson got his first NFL action, taking the field in the second quarter of the Bucs’ preseason opener against Kansas City, playing roughly 15 snaps.

For Bowers, it was relief.

“It was a good feeling to get back on the field,” he said. “It was long overdue. I was excited to get on the field with my new team and get that feeling back.”

Bowers’ stat line won’t send offensive linemen running for cover. He didn’t have a tackle or sack, but this wasn’t about numbers. It was about getting into the flow of the game and getting accustomed to the speed of NFL football. It also was about the Bucs gaining confidence in his surgically-repaired knee, which Bowers said was not an issue.

“I felt good,” he said. “No problems with the knee. I held up just fine.”

Bowers didn’t tout his performance as award winning, but simply solid.

“I think I did pretty good,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement. We’ll come in on Sunday and critique ourselves and hear from our coaches and find out what our mistakes were.”

But Bowers was part of a defensive line that showed great promise Friday despite playing without two of its most important pieces – tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.

“It’s definitely inspiring, what we did on defense,” Bowers said. “Without (offseason work) or minicamp or anything, to come into camp and play like we did was very exciting. I look forward to it getting better and getting out there and grinding with my teammates and getting ready for this season.”

[Last modified: Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:06am]


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