The outlook appeared to be clearing up this past offseason until Bowers tore his Achilles tendon back in May. After spending his 2011 rookie campaign battling a lingering knee injury that carried over from college, it was another devastating setback for the promising young pass rusher.
According to Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik, Bowers might see the field before the 2012 season is over despite the injury.
“He’s ahead of schedule in terms of his surgery was very successful,” Dominik told ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas. “His rehab has been very successful. The only thing we’re doing right now is limiting what he can do to try to keep him from overexerting himself because he feels so good.”
Prior to his latest setback, Bowers was expected to push for a starting spot along the Buccaneers’ front line. Instead, Bowers will start the regular season on the Buccaneers’ Physical Unable to Perform (PUP) list. By the sixth game, the coaching staff will make a judgment call on whether or not to place Bowers on the season-ending Injured Reserve list.
Leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, Bowers was considered one of the top available prospects. During his time with the Clemson Tigers, the dynamic pass rusher displayed tremendous athleticism, overwhelming explosiveness and the ability to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks. Originally expected to be the No. 1 pick, Bowers dropped to the Buccaneers at No. 51 after a pre-draft knee surgery.
Despite battling nagging injuries, Bowers notched 25 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in 16 games (6 starts) during his rookie 2011 season.
Bowers is an elite football talent who is suffering from a bad luck streak. The Buccaneers, however, are hoping that his luck turns around before the 2012 season has come to a close.