The eternal story of the injured NFL player: so much talent, so little production, so much disappointment. That's what Da'Quan Bowers' career has epitomized so far, and it doesn't look like it's changing. The fourth-year defensive end confirmed to WXBT-AM that he had offseason knee surgery, and noted that that was why he was not fully in shape. Bowers' own words, via JoeBucsFan:
"I'm definitely not a 100 percent, but by the time fall camp comes I'll be close to it," Bowers said. "I've worked extensively with the training staff. And I've practiced every day. I haven't missed a practice [through] minicamp or OTAs. I've practiced every practice. I've gotten better each and every day. That's something to build on."
That's good news, in the sense that at least we know he's not out of shape because he isn't working hard enough. It's bad news because this is now the third injury he's suffered as a pro in as many seasons, after entering the draft with significant concerns about the long-term health of his knees, with some whispers of a degenerative condition -- which is why he fell to the second round.
Bowers has all the talent in the world and could be a significant part of the new defensive scheme, but if he's not healthy or if that talent is sapped by his chronic knee injuries, he will struggle to make an impact. If you can't get on the field, you can't contribute.
Bowers is entering a contract year, too, so if he is to be a part of the long-term solution along the defensive line in Tampa, he'll have to excel this year. And that starts in training camp, where he will have to battle Adrian Clayborn and William Gholston for playing time at left defensive end.