New Raider Bowman Says He Has a ‘Lot of Juice Left'

Former 49ers standout will become Oakland's middle linebacker and could be a big boost for the defense, especially against the run

NaVorro Bowman has had some rough times in recent years. He missed all of the 2014 season with a horrific knee injury, then missed most of 2016 with an injury to his Achilles’ tendon.

Plus, Bowman entered the NFL in 2010, a generation ago in NFL years.

Yet the former 49ers linebacker – signed by the Raiders Monday after his release by the 49ers late last week – wanted to remind everyone that he’s only 29 years old.

While he may be in his seventh NFL season, the four-time first-team All-Pro inside linebacker from Penn State says the Raiders aren’t getting a past-his-prime reject by any means.

“I’m only 29 yeas old and I still have a lot of juice left in me,” he told reporters.

Certainly, Bowman could be just what the Raiders need at middle linebacker. He’s a hard-working, intelligent veteran who’s been among the best linebackers in the league when healthy, and now he’ll be dropped into the middle of the defense and should be a huge help, especially against opposing rushing attacks. The analytic website Pro Football Focus noted Bowman is one of the NFL’s most efficient run stoppers at his position. He ranks No. 5 in run-defense stops and 21st in run-stop percentage.

Plus, it’s possible that Bowman, now playing alongside outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, who can set the edge, may be able to play at an even higher level.

"I feel that it’s going to allow me to have a security blanket understanding the defenses," Bowman told the media Monday. "The ball shouldn’t get outside. It should be funneled back right at me. When you have that trust and you know guys are on the edge and taking their jobs as serious as you, you can play fast, you can go out there and make plays that you need to make."

Head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters Bowman might be able to get onto the field as soon as Thursday night in Oakland’s AFC West matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kickoff for the game between the 2-4 Raiders and 5-1 Chiefs at the Oakland Coliseum is set for 5:25 p.m.

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