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Is It Put Up or Shut Up for Da'Quan Bowers?

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Former college star's pro career is at a crossroads

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL.

Everyone comes in with a world of potential, but in the grand scheme of things, it's how hard you work, and if you fit into a system. The rest of it is luck.

Da'Quan Bowers has had none of this.

One of the best defensive players in college football during his days at Clemson, Bowers was a beast, winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, and leading the nation in sacks with 15.5. It seemed that he was primed for a fruitful career in the big time.

The transition from the college ranks to the pro game has not been easy. In 2013, he was busted on second degree criminal weapon charges at LaGuardia Airport in New York. He played 13 games that year, not making an impact in the Buccaneers defensive game. In 2014, his numbers went up slightly, but also only played 11 games.

After being an unrestricted free agent in 2015, Bowers tried to get on with another team, but there were no takers. A back injury to starting defensive tackle Akeem Spence opened a roster spot for Bowers, and he plans to make the most of a second opportunity.

"I feel amazing man, really blessed", Bowers told FOX Sports.

FOX Sports also reported last week that Bowers came to camp looking in shape and healthy. And that's good news for coach Lovie Smith.

"Most of us have been fired at least one time and it's a humbling experience", Smith told ESPN. "That's definitely the case. Da'Quan did some good things for us last year and I know right now, he came in, in shape, and is ready to go".

Will Bowers become a Pro Bowler overnight? Who knows. But with the second chance he has been given, and his dedication to his overall conditioning, there's no reason why he cannot help the Buccaneers out defensively while Spence is out.

This year, they are going to need all the help they can get.