Six months removed from Achilles tear, Bowers is back


Today’s the six-month anniversary of Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers tearing his Achilles.

Many didn’t think he’d be playing at all this year, but he’s already two games into his comeback, thanks to an aggressive rehabilitation.

I don’t know if it’s good genes or rehab specialists,” Bowers said, via Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. “But the guys did a great job with me. I made a statement as soon as I hurt it that I’d be playing this year. Nobody seemed to believe me.

“It’s been a tough road, but I’m glad to be where I am now.”

Bowers was taking part in a workout on May 10, when the right Achilles gave way. “It felt like my shoe fell off,” he said. The next day, he had surgery to repair what was referred to as an even tear, and 168 days later, he was back on the field.

So while teammates practiced on the field, he ran in pools, rode exercise bikes, lifted weights and boxed. At one point, thanks to the extra upper body work, one of his punches into a heavy bag broke it free from its moorings.

“He hit the bag so hard, he broke the big bolt that went through one of the beams,” strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler said. “It was holding up the bag, and he snapped the thing right off.”

The Bucs needed him, with Adrian Clayborn out for the year with a knee injury, and activated him from the physically unable to perform list Oct. 25. And he has a sack in his two games of limited snaps, showing a bit of his old burst.

Bowers was dogged by knee problems in college, which dropped his draft stock to the point he was taken in the second round after many thought he could be a top-five pick.

But his willingness to work his way through enabled him to make the kind of comeback few thought possible.