Schiano: Bowers will return this season
While it's not clear exactly when DE Da'Quan Bowers will return, coach Greg Schiano said Thursday he anticipates it'll be this season.
Bowers, who suffered a torn Achilles in May, has been on the physically unable to perform list and is rehabbing from surgery. Bowers is eligible to come off the PUP after this week's games, when the team can use a two-week roster exemption period before placing him on the 53-man active roster. During those two weeks, Bowers can practice.
While Schiano isn't sure when Bowers, the 2011 second-round pick, will return to practice, he's been very encouraged by his progress.
"He's improving, there's no doubt about that," Schiano said. "We're going to be very, very conservative and not going to rush that situation. We're going to make srue he's well. But I can tell you from the things I've seen, I'm really encouraged. When he comes back, I do anticipate him coming back here in the forseeable future - if that's three weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, I'm not sure right now."
With starting DE Adrian Clayborn, the team's first-round pick in 2011, suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 3, getting Bowers back would be a big boost to the Bucs defensive front. DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim has filled in for Clayborn in recent weeks.
Bowers said a few weeks ago that he was making a lot of progress and that it'd be up to Schiano and GM Mark Dominik when they allow him to come back when eligible. Schiano said they're going to make sure that when Bowers returns, there's no risk of further injury, but the first-year coach feels much better about the situation than he did in the offseason.
"You hear a guy has to get his Achilles operated on, you're like 'Oooh,'" Schiano said. "But watching the stuff he's done out there on the field in rehab, that's good stuff."
-- JOE SMITH