Former 49ers No. 1: Linebacker NaVorro Bowman
In 2013, NaVorro Bowman took over the accolade of being the 49ers’ best linebacker from Patrick Willis.
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This wasn’t a knock against Willis, of course. It was more Bowman being the better playmaker at that point in his career. And it didn’t matter much anyway. San Francisco boasted the best linebacking duo in the NFL at the time, if not in league history.
One can only wonder what kind of career Bowman would have had if he didn’t suffer his gruesome knee injury in the 2014 NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks, later hindered by a season-ending Achilles tear in 2016. Up to that point, like Willis, Bowman was a perennial Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro.
It was sad to see San Francisco move on from Bowman in 2017, as he ultimately finished his playing days across the bay with the Oakland Raiders.
But seeing Bowman come back to retire with the 49ers was a genuine top moment.
As is the case with Willis, the Niners wouldn’t have a lot of room to make at linebacker for both Bowman and his former linebacking mate. Yet that wouldn’t matter. Merely watching both of those players on the field again would stir up all kinds of emotions and memories.
The rest of the team would surely want to run through a wall watching both of them play, too.