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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs rookie Da'Quan Bowers debuts, jumps in at full speed



One of the biggest storylines of the 2011 draft was the precipitous fall of former Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, a projected top-5 pick who fell to the Bucs at No. 51 because of a much-scrutinized January knee surgery.

Friday, in a fast-paced helmet-less practice at One Buc Place, Bowers showed explosion and showed no lingering effects, even taking some snaps with the first-team defense at left end.

And Bowers cleared the air immediately after the workout, declaring himself healthy and ready to go.

“I feel great,” Bowers said. “I’m getting used to this Florida heat and humidity, but other than that, I feel good. I’m flying around to the ball and taking reps and getting my work in, did the individual stuff and I haven’t been held out (any drills). I’m just ready to start the season.”

Bowers was the subject of endless debate before the draft, with many teams saying they did not want to take the risk of drafting him because of the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury. But Bowers was a phenom at Clemson, leading the nation last season with 16 sacks in 2010.

Nothing he showed Friday suggested he can’t be the player most projected he’d be prior to the surgery. Now, Bowers will attempt to make teams that passed on him have regrets.

“I’m definitely hungry,” he said. “Ten defensive ends went before me. Thirty-one teams passed up on me. So, I have 31 points to make. I’m going to do it by working hard and helping my team and getting ready.”

[Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011 1:16pm]


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