The bigger question might be whether he’ll ever be anything but ailing himself.
Dowling has barely played the last two seasons, missing most of senior year at Virginia and playing just two games last year before he landed on IR with leg problems.
That’s not the limit of his problems, as Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has a detailed rundown of his injury history (take a deep breath before reading).
“Nothing, just prove them wrong,’’ Dowling said when asked about people putting the injury prone label on him . “You can’t be worried about what somebody’s got to say. I’m out here playing, so I’m just worried about what I can do to help the team, and that’s all I can do right now.’’
If he can ever get well, the Patriots might have a special player. Dowling’s 6-foot-2 and moves well, and pairing him with Devin McCourty would give New England a solid tandem.
But counting on him at this point also seems a stretch, which could leave them scrambling again.